Canberrans over the age of 50 will be able to access the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through a local General Practitioner in May, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced today, Thursday 22 April.
A second ACT Government vaccination clinic will open at Calvary Hospital soon, to provide an additional 680 vaccinations per week and support the revised rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Canberrans over the age of 50.
Mr Barr said the existing COVID-19 Surge Centre in Garran, “ACT’s mass vaccination clinic”, can vaccinate up to 7,000 people per week “provided there is sufficient vaccine supply”.
The Chief Minister did not rule out opening a third facility if supply increased.
He said he had “made it clear to the Commonwealth” that the vaccination of Canberrans living in disability residential care, and aged care and disability residential care workers was essential.
“These groups were rightly identified as a priority in the original COVID-19 vaccination rollout, and these Canberrans must be vaccinated as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Barr said the ACT Government will work with the Commonwealth to vaccinate those Canberrans at an ACT Government vaccination clinic where appropriate.
Online bookings and digital vaccine records
The ACT COVID-19 vaccination program has been improved by the ACT Government’s new My Digital Health Record (MyDHR), Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith today announced.
The new technology comes from global software company Epic and is the result of a $151 million investment the ACT Government committed to in 2018.
“It’s great that we have been able to leverage Epic’s world-leading Digital Health Record system to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Canberrans,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“The technology was fast-tracked to book appointments, guide nurses through pre-vaccine checklists, record vaccination details, report to the Australian Immunisation Register and provide digital confirmation to consumers about their vaccination status.
“Soon, eligible Canberrans will be able to make their own bookings for ACT Government vaccination hubs and access their vaccine related activity through a secure MyDHR web portal.”
Ms Stephen-Smith stressed that MyDHR would not create new information or store information “anywhere it wouldn’t already be”.
She said all health records will continue to be managed in accordance with the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997.
Initial access to MyDHR will only include COVID-19 vaccination activity and the remaining functionality will come online in late 2022.
Prime Minister’s update on national rollout
Since the national rollout began, 1.8 million Australians have been vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this afternoon.
He said daily vaccination numbers were in the mid-60,000s, and over half of the vaccinations completed in Australia were done by General Practitioners.
Mr Morrison compared Australia’s vaccine rollout to the same stage of other developed countries.
“Australia has been steadily moving up the board, we are now at 7 per 100, which puts us ahead of the European Union, countries like Belgium, France, Italy, and of course countries like New Zealand and Canada, at the same time of their vaccination rollout,” he said.
The Prime Minister said people returning to Australia from high-risk countries was an important issue.
“There are countries that are frankly higher risk than others.”
He said an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Australian hotel quarantine related to arrivals from India.
In response, Mr Morrison announced new restrictions regarding incoming and outgoing passengers and high-risk countries such as India.
Australia will limit departure exceptions to high-risk countries like India, and over the next week incoming flights from India will be reduced by 30%.