Vaccine bookings re-open for Garran surge centre

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Bookings for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the Garran surge centre have re-opened, after being closed last week to allow health officials to re-shuffle appointments due to new recommendations for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said anyone who has received an invitation to book into the Garran surge centre for their vaccination can now arrange their appointment. 

People with existing bookings at the Garran centre will receive the AstraZeneca jab if they are over 50, and those under 50 will be shifted to the Pfizer vaccine, Ms Stephen-Smith said, in line with the national vaccine advisory group’s recommendations.

“And of course, for those people who’ve been booked in for the Pfizer vaccination, those appointments continue to go ahead.”

For younger people with underlying health conditions or disability, Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT was working with the Federal Government and the local GP network to ensure the Pfizer vaccines could be made available to these groups, potentially through the Garran centre.

She said the ACT’s GP rollout was “pretty much complete”, with all the practices who signed up to be a part of the vaccination program coming on board.

“We’ve made a number of offers to the Commonwealth to work with them, we’ve asked them for further information about what they’re doing in the disability space.

“The TGA advice is that it is preferred not to provide AstraZeneca to those under 50, unless the benefit outweighs the risk,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“And that is a conversation that those people with underlying health conditions may want to have with their GP. And we’ve certainly heard from GPs there are some people under the age of 50 who are choosing to go ahead with their AstraZeneca vaccine and they’re making an informed decision to do that.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT Government would continue to manage the flow of bookings throughout the Garran centre, currently largely for essential workers, to ensure it’s in line with the requirements set out by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, ATAGI, last week.

The Minister said the ACT received another 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, as was expected, and didn’t have “specific concerns” around the supply of the vaccine to the Territory.

“We obviously continue to hold stock of Pfizer and a stock of AstraZeneca vaccine in our freezers and our fridges to ensure that we can smooth out the appointments and smooth out the vaccination program here in the ACT,” she said.

The ACT has a dedicated COVID-19 website; covid-19.act.gov.au

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