The much-awaited Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which has been approved by Australia's medicines regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration for adolescents aged 12 and above, is now available from many pharmacies across Port Stephens.
Moderna now joins both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer brands as TGA approved vaccines that can prevent people from becoming ill with, or experiencing severe symptoms from, COVID-19.
For the best protection against the virus, two doses of Moderna are required, usually given four to six weeks apart.
Rachel Mulley from TerryWhite Chemmart Raymond Terrace said that Moderna had been available from their clinic from September 28, and that bookings were being taken online at terrywhitechemmart.com.au.
"We will not be taking walk-ins and only administering the vaccines via clinics. At the same time as the Moderna clinics we are still running our AstraZeneca clinics for over 18s as well," she said.
"The introduction of the Moderna vaccine is very welcome as it is similar to the Pifzer vaccine, it can be used on anyone over the age of 12 and it will contribute to kids getting back to school quickly and safely. Pregnant women can also access this vaccine."
TerryWhite Chemmart at Tanilba Bay has also had the vaccine available since September 27.
"We would normally accept walk-ins, however, we have had a huge demand for the vaccine and are now booked out until at least the end of October. We would encourage everyone to book online at the terrywhitechemmart.com.au/health-services/covid-19-vaccination website," a spokesperson said.
At Anna Bay Pharmacy, Moderna will be available from Tuesday, October 5 and will be available to book from that date on Healthdirect.gov.au. The pharmacy is also doing walk-ins for AstraZeneca.
Amcal+ Salamander Bay has already administered 1,750+ doses of Astra Zeneca to support the national vaccine rollout and will begin Moderna Vaccinations in the 1-2 weeks.
Christian Hernandez, who also owns Salamander Amcal Medical Centre, said they he would be receiving a delivery of Moderna this Friday.
The Lakeside Pharmacy Outlet in Raymond Terrace is recommending those wanting the Moderna vaccine to call (02) 4987 5005 and book an appointment to avoid long delays.
"Same day vaccination is a possibility depending on bookings. The same applies for AZ vaccine," a spokesperson for the Raymond Terrace pharmacy said.
The Moderna vaccine has been available from September 27 at Nelson Bay's TerryWhite Chemmart, where pharmacist Scott Elsegood says the vaccine has been in high demand.
"In about 18 hours I had over 180 bookings for first vaccinations, so we canonly offer bookings at this time. Once demand weakens, walk-ins will be welcome." To book, go to www.chemistnelsonbay.com.au or call (02) 4984 2445.
Mr Elsegood said that to date, NSW regulations mean Pfizer and Moderna are open to 12-59 year olds.
"Eventually it will be open to all Australians, but as the AstraZeneca vaccine is available for people aged 60 and over and is safe and effective (for all ages), this group they will need to wait until 12-59 year olds have a chance to get a vax first."
He said that in 2021 about half the number of people got an influenza vax compared to 2020 which means if an outbreak occurs vulnerable people could be exposed.
"Young people play a vital role in protecting the community from influenza by being vaccinated. In fact many of the principles for getting a COVID vax is shared with fluvax as young people don't tend to get particularly sick from either COVID or influenza but two days prior to coming down with symptoms you can be contagious, and pass it on to vulnerable people."
According to the health department, large clinical trials have shown that Moderna is effective in preventing COVID-19 in people aged 12 years and older. Extending access to COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years requires the approval of the TGA.
For more information on vaccines go to www.health.gov.au and search for initiatives and programs.
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