Which Covid Vaccination will be available in Australia?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
was the first vaccine to be rolled out in both the UK and the USA. It is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine required to be stored at temperatures of -70 ° C. Unlike traditional vaccines which use dead or portions of virus to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines use genetic material extracted from the Coronavirus (RNA) to trigger an immune response. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been shown to have a 95% efficacy rate, and requires two doses three weeks apart for maximum effectiveness. Minor side effects may include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, injection site swelling and nausea. It is being manufactured in the USA and Belgium, and the Australian government has 10 million doses on order.
The AstraZeneca vaccine
has been developed in partnership with Oxford University, and it is being manufactured in Australia by the biotechnology company CSL. The UK started rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine in early January. It is a viral vector vaccine, which triggers an immune response by introducing an engineered Coronavirus gene to the body. It can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures ( 2-8 ° C). It has a reported efficacy rate of around 63-90% and also requires two doses four weeks apart. Minor side effects may include arm pain, chills, muscle aches, fatigue and headache. 50 million doses will be manufactured here in Australia.
The Novovax vaccine
is currently in late stage trial in the US and UK, with data expected in the first half of this year. The Novovax vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine, which uses an engineered (and harmless) copy of the Coronavirus to trigger an immune response. There is no official data on efficacy rate or known side effects yet, but the initial data looks very promising according to the Australian government. Australia has ordered 51 million doses of the Novovax vaccine.
What does efficacy rate mean? | Covid 19 Vaccination
As mentioned above, each of the three vaccines considered for Australia have differing rates of efficacy. Efficacy refers to the ability to produce a desired or intended result, in this case, the ability to achieve sufficient immunity to prevent infection from Covid 19. However, efficacy is not the only factor that needs to be considered regarding effectiveness of a vaccine. While both the Pfizer/BioNTech & AstraZeneca may differ in their ability to prevent Covid 19 infection, they both are extremely effective in preventing serious illness or death due to the virus. For the smaller group of people that do not achieve adequate immunity after vaccination, they will still most likely remain well and only have relatively mild symptoms. For this reason, we can still be satisfied that both vaccines will be very effective in protecting the Australian community.
Are the vaccines safe?
Apart from the known minor side effects, extensive trials have proven that all three vaccines are safe for the public. Health authorities in the US, UK, Europe and the World Health Organization have all approved the Pfizer/BioNTech & AstraZenaca vaccines. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Authority has also reviewed all vaccine trial data and confirmed that these vaccines are safe for use in all age groups.
What is The National Covid 19 Vaccination Rollout Plan?
The Australian Government has developed a rollout plan to provide free Covid vaccinations for all Australians. The National Rollout Plan involves prioritising vaccinations in five phases:
Phase 1a – The first group to be vaccinated will be frontline healthcare providers, aged care and disability staff, aged care & disability residents, quarantine & border workers. They will be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with 1.4 million doses expected to be administered. This part of the rollout will be administered from ‘vaccination hubs’ set up at 30-50 hospital sites in both metro and regional areas. Vaccinations will also be administered directly at disability and aged care centres.
Phase 1b – The next group to be vaccinated will be remaining health care workers, emergency and high risk workers, elderly adults above the age of 70, younger adults with underlying medical conditions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people above 55 years of age.
Phase 2a – Adults above the age of 50, remaining critical and high workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people above the age of 18
Phase 2b – Remaining adult population (18 – 49 y.o age group).
Phase 3 – In the final phase, children under the age of 18 will be vaccinated if recommended.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be utilised for the last four phases and approved General Practices will be central to this part of the rollout.
The doctors & nurses at Southgate Medical have extensive experience in providing vaccinations for children, travellers and corporate Flu vaccination programs. Our large, modern facility enables us to provide vaccinations in an area separate from the rest of the clinic, therefore minimising contact with other patients visiting the centre.
Southgate Medical is ideally located to provide Covid vaccinations in both Melbourne CBD & Southbank, just a short walk from Flinders St station and St Kilda Rd trams.
Southgate Medical Centre
Covid Vaccination Melbourne