Which COVID vaccines will be available in Australia?
At the moment, there are two vaccines available: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
(otherwise known as Comirnaty) 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 for long term storage, and -25 ° C to -15 ° C for short term (two weeks) storage. 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, Germany and Belgium, and the Australian government has 10 million doses on order. The Pfizer vaccine is preferred for Australians younger than 60 years of age.
WE WILL BE RECEIVING PFIZER VACCINES WITH ROLLOUT TO COMMENCE MID JULY.
STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON BOOKINGS & AVAILABILITY.
The AstraZeneca vaccine
has been developed in partnership with Oxford University, and it is being manufactured in the USA, Belgium and right here 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 70-90% and also requires two doses twelve 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 AstraZeneca vaccine is preferred for adults 60 years and above.
WE CURRENTLY HAVE THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR ALL PEOPLE AGED OVER 60. BOOK ONLINE NOW.
There are also two other vaccines expected to be available to Australians later on this year: the Moderna vaccine and the Novovax vaccine
The Moderna vaccine
is an mRNA vaccine similar to Pfizer. It is currently being administered succesfully in the UK, the USA and the European Union. According to data from the USA, the Moderna vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1% after two doses 28 days apart. Common side effects reported include localised pain, redness and swelling. Australia has secured 25 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
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 preliminary data looks very promising and shows a 90% efficacy rate. 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.
Most side effects are mild and usually last for around one or two days. As with any vaccine or medicine, there is the chance of rare side effects.
A very rare but severe side effect of blood clotting (thrombosis) has been reported following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. This has not been reported with the Pfizer vaccine. This side effect is very rare, and may occur in around 4-6 people in every million vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
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 according to age group and vulnerability.
Currently the following groups are eligible for the vaccine:
- All adults aged 40 and over
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 and older
- NDIS participants aged 16 and older
- NDIS carers of any age
- Quarantine and border workers
- Health care workers
- Aged care residents and workers
- Critical and high risk workers (including defence, policy, fire, emergency services and meat processing)
- Individuals with an Australian Border Force outwards travel exemption in an eligible category
- Temporary visa holders aged under 50 years who are currently in Australia and have been approved for return to Australia through the travel exemption process
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-19 vaccinations in both Melbourne CBD & Southbank, just a short walk from Flinders St station and St Kilda Rd trams.
Southgate Medical Centre
COVID-19 Vaccination Melbourne