The government has launched a $23.9 million PSA campaign to encourage Australians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt’s announcement came on the back of Australia’s first COVID-19 vaccine provisional approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
He said “The campaign will keep Australians fully informed and up to date about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as they become available, including when, how and where to get the jab.”
Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy
This campaign will aim to ease doubts and dispel myths regarding the vaccine in three steps:
- Reaffirm the fact that the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been put through Australia’s world-leading independent approval processes, ensuring their safety and efficacy
- Provide information on the vaccine roll-out, particularly to priority and at-risk groups
- Inform people about how and where to get vaccinated, dosage requirements, and support vaccine uptake
Role of Pharmacies and Training Requirements
While the Pfizer vaccine will be administered at designated Pfizer Hubs across Australia, Minister Hunt’s announcement also stated that community pharmacists are expected to administer other COVID-19 vaccines from Phase 2a when they become available. The legal authority for pharmacists to administer vaccines requires state and territory governments to enable regulatory changes to the list of vaccines pharmacists can administer.
The Minister has indicated:
“Work is also under way to prepare the necessary and compulsory training which will be required for each and every healthcare professional administering COVID-19 vaccines.”
“The nature of the COVID-19 vaccines requires immunisers receive information on a range of issues, such as the use of multi-use vials and handling practices.”
“Healthcare professionals and the vaccine workforce will not be able to administer any COVID-19 vaccines without having first completed the training modules.”
The first phase of the vaccination rollout is expected to begin in late February. Further information on the Vaccine National Roll-out Strategy can be found on the Department of Health website.