The first consignment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in Australia to be administered by community pharmacies around the country, and Armidale has some of the first recipients.
Daniel Flavel is the pharmacist manager at Terry White Chemmart in Armidale, and he said COVID -19 vaccination using Moderna had begun at his pharmacy on Thursday.
"We received 300 vaccines yesterday, and there is more to come," Mr Flavel said.
"They are onboarding pharmacies in a staged process, and we were in the first round, as was Mountview Pharmacy."
Mr Flavel said he is not sure why pharmacies are being given Moderna to administer and not Pfizer as they require the same refrigeration. However, he is not complaining because statistics indicate that Moderna is the most effective vaccination currently on the market.
"The figures are alarmingly good," Mr Flavel said.
"They are claiming to be 92 per cent effective against infection 14 days after the second dose, 86 per cent effective against hospitalisation and 100 per cent effective against ICU admission."
The possible side effects are similar to the Pfizer vaccine - a sore arm and fever or chills - two days after the jab.
"Anyone aged between 12 and 59 is eligible, and we are booked out tomorrow, but there is still plenty of availability," he said.
"We've had a lot of enquiries coming in from parents for teenagers."
Mr Flavel said bookings for the Moderna vaccine could be made via the Terry White Chemmart website.
In August, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved provisional use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna.
Almost 350,000 doses arrived last Friday as part of Australia's original contracted supply, and a further 700,000 from the additional million doses secured from European Union member states arrive one day later.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said they were the first of two million to be supplied by Moderna in September from their Belgium plant.
"We expect that these doses will be distributed to more than 1800 community pharmacies across the country and put in into the arms of Australians in the next week," Mr Hunt said.
A further 1800 community pharmacies across the country will start to receive doses the week commencing September 27.
Nationwide, more than 3640 pharmacies have already put their hands up to administer the Moderna vaccine.
Australia has an advance purchase agreement with Moderna to secure 25 million doses of the vaccine - 10 million this year and 15 million in 2022. The Moderna vaccine doses will go through the standard TGA batch-testing process as all other COVID-19 vaccines.
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