More and more children aged 12 to 15 are now partially vaccinated against COVID-19 as pharmacists in Sydney’s hot spots received doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday.
Just after 1.40pm, Edensor Park year 8 student Dylan Nguyen Ton became one of the first people in Australia to receive the vaccine. The 14-year-old arrived at Priceline Cabramatta with his grandmother, Aileen, who was receiving her second AstraZeneca shot.
“I just want to get back to school and see my friends,” Dylan said, adding he will be looking for a part-time job in the next year and expects vaccination will be a requirement.
While some pharmacies are reporting waitlists for Moderna shots, one million of which have arrived since Thursday night, Dylan said he did not know they had become available and was thinking he would try to find a GP giving Pfizer doses after his grandmother’s appointment.
“We decided to try to get me the vaccine today and it just happened that it was here,” he said.
Priceline Cabramatta received its first 200 Moderna doses on Monday morning. Within an hour at least 10 bookings had been made, but pharmacist Quinn On said he was likely to administer the bulk of vaccines via walk-ins.
“It just makes it so much more convenient and accessible for people, I think about 90% of people in this area prefer walking in over pre-booked appointments,” he said.
On Monday, 13 pharmacies within local government areas of concern in Sydney received their first shipments of the Moderna vaccine, the third brand of COVID-19 shot to be added to the rollout.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the uptake had been “outstanding” and encouraged parents to take advantage of the Moderna appointments, describing the 12-15 age bracket as “critical” for when schools return next month. More children are urged to get jabbed, as are their families.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use in more children aged 12 and over. AstraZeneca is approved for use in people aged 18 and older.
Across NSW, more than 82% of the over-16 population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 53% are fully vaccinated.
Eight of the pharmacies scheduled to receive Moderna on Monday were in the Canterbury-Bankstown area. Two, including Mr On’s, were in Cabramatta and the remaining three were at Guildford, Kogarah and Lugarno.
More than 1800 community pharmacies across Australia will receive Moderna doses this week, including 569 in NSW. An additional 1800 will receive doses from September 27.
“Allocations across NSW will range between 100 and 150 doses a week initially, increasing to between 150 and 200 doses per community pharmacy later in October,” the federal Department of Health said in a statement.
Howie Yi, pharmacist at Priceline Canterbury, received his doses on Monday. He said he would spend the afternoon determining how appointments would work: a waitlist of about 100 people had been building “for the past few weeks”.
“It’s people of all ages but there’s a lot of demand from parents for teenagers,” he said, noting most adults who had asked about their vaccination options had decided to receive AstraZeneca at the pharmacy, although some had “opted to wait”.
Warren Del-Grande, pharmacist at Lugarno Pharmacy said he had a Moderna wait list of more than 50 people, with more children aged 12 to 15. His doses arrived on Monday afternoon.
“We have been administering AstraZeneca for six weeks but it’s tapered off a bit now,” he said. “Ever since word got out we might get Moderna people have said they will wait. There is still a hesitancy [about AstraZeneca] there.”
Original story found on the Sydney Morning Herald website. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.