The Federal Government has secured 25 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to “further diversify” Australia’s vaccine portfolio and to provide “access to a booster or variant vaccine” should it be required in the future.
It has said a complete course of Moderna’s vaccination is likely to be two doses given 28 days apart.
AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy, appearing on Channel 9’s Today Show on Thursday, said while it was good news, people should not wait until Moderna was available to get vaccinated.
“Don’t wait – when it is your turn and you’ve got a chance to get a shot, get your shot first,” he said.
In a joint statement from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt and Industry, Science and Technology Minister Christian Porter said the application by Moderna to the TGA was expected shortly.
“The Moderna vaccine diversifies Australia’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines, provides more flexibility for the national vaccine rollout, and secures early access to possible vaccinations for emerging COVID-19 variants of concern circulating around the world,” the statement said.
In a further interview with Sky News Dr Moy said: “This is good news, to have this sort of insurance policy for later if we have to pivot again in terms of our vaccination program, but we’ve got to keep vaccinating now.”
“We have the AstraZeneca being the real core part of our vaccine program, we know that it prevents serious disease. We need to vaccinate that most vulnerable group, which is the over 50s because we need to get past that first stage.
“So really having this is great in the background but it really shouldn’t change what we’re doing as far as the vaccination program now, and those sort of hanging out for that in the year, you’ve got to remember, we’ve got to get through another winter and the lesson has been learnt that winter is not a good time for COVID.”
Meanwhile, Operations Co-ordinator from the Vaccine Operations Centre, Commodore Eric Young, said extra doses of vaccines going out next week will allow a tripling of doses from 50 to 150 doses, for nearly 3000 low-volume general practices, and double the allocations from 100 to 200 doses for 1000 medium-volume practices.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the extra vaccines would be welcomed with GPs around the country, “frustrated at not being able to deliver as much vaccine to their own communities – their own patients – as they would like”.
Dr Khorshid also welcomed the news a record 400,066 vaccines had been administered last week.
The increase in vaccinations coincided with the start of phase 2A. Dr Khorshid said while it was important to have all people eligible under Phase 2A of the program vaccinated as soon as possible, the AMA would continue to advocate for the speedy delivery and completion of Phases 1A and 1B.