3 June 2021

ACT expands vaccine rollout to cover 40 to 49-year-olds

| Dominic Giannini
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Rachel Stephen-Smith receives a vaccine

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith announced people between the age of 40 and 49 are now eligible to be vaccinated. Photo: Michelle Kroll

Canberrans between 40 and 49 can now book in to get the Pfizer jab from the Garran vaccination clinic as the ACT Government expands the vaccine’s rollout.

More than 60,000 Canberrans have now become eligible to get the jab under the new phase.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith encouraged Canberrans to get their vaccination as soon as possible but acknowledged that not everyone who is now eligible will be able to access the clinic straight away.

The government was in a position to offer more people the opportunity to get the jab now as so many high-risk Canberrans had been vaccinated.

The announcement from ACT Health came a day after the ACT eclipsed 100,000 vaccine doses.

The clinic’s online booking system will operate on expanded hours from today (3 June) to handle the increased demand, while extra staff and an updated call back system will also be in place.

The phone booking line will be available from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, seven days a week, on 02 5124 7700.

People can also book online using the ACT Government booking system, MyDHR.

READ ALSO No vaccination blitz for Canberra aged-care staff despite Victorian COVID-19 outbreak

NSW has allowed people between 40 and 49 to register to become vaccinated since mid-May. Last week, Victoria announced the same age group would be eligible for the jab as well.

Canberrans over the age of 50 became eligible to receive their jab a month ago as the vaccination rollout was rejigged because of rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca jab.

This prompted the government to bring forward this age group as Pfizer stocks were put aside for vulnerable people under the age of 50.

Those under the age of 50 will need to book into the Garran vaccination clinic to receive their Pfizer shot. However, Canberrans under 50 can still receive the AstraZeneca jab from their GP if their doctor believes that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

For more information about COVID-19 and the vaccine’s rollout in the ACT, please visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.

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I’m not even bothering until I can get Pfizer shot. Canada’s banned Astrazeneca for good reason.

For those ineligble for the Pfizer vaccine being given to younger age groups, the choice is whether to get the AstraZeneca vaccine now, which according to WHO has 63% efficacy, or wait for the arrival of the US Moderna vaccine, which has +90% efficacy.


You’re being sold by the Pfizer marketing spin where Astra Zeneca has cooled a bad wrap.

The real world data is showing that they’re both as effective as each other. Astra Zeneca is even showing good coverage against the variants which is helpful too.

Astra Zeneca “copped a bad rap”. Ah autocorrect.

It is confusing for us non-experts to know who and what to believe, so I favor the World Health Organisation as a reliable source, rather than media reports of non-peer reviewed articles pertaining to a UK sample.
According to WHO: “The AstraZeneca/Oxford product is a viral vectored vaccine called ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]. ChAdOx1-S has been found to have 63.09% efficacy”

If one has health issues, any vaccine (asap) is better than no vaccine but if you decide to get a vaccine it is best to get one which has the highest efficacy – that being the US Moderna, which has +90% efficacy, or Pfizer which also is >90%. Moderna is not yet available in Australia, but is coming and subject to TGA approval, while Pfizer is unavailable to >50 age groups. So the choice for the >50s is get lower 63% efficacy AstraZeneca now, or wait for higher +90% efficacy Moderna later. Personally, I would rather wait – which is called vaccine hesitancy, and be happy with what I consent to be injected with.

Except the WHO aren’t saying that the vaccines are better/worse than each other. Quoting the results of the clinical trials from last year is becoming less valid because those results are now being tested in the real world where differences from the trial data are seen.

Ummm, no. You need to trade off the risk of getting covid and dying. Stop being so selfish, do your bit for the community and get vaccinated now!

HiddenDragon5:30 pm 03 Jun 21

The confirmation (that’s what it sound like, anyway) in today’s PM and co. press conference that pharmacists will be involved in the vaccine roll out later in the year should help with the current bottlenecks in the vaccination program – assuming the drumbeat from the WHO doesn’t lead to further delays and diversions of supplies of the preferred vaccine.

Tom Worthington3:57 pm 03 Jun 21

Good to see governments are expanding the vaccine rollout. However, it is still harder than it need be to book online. I will be presenting a seminar 2pm Wednesday at ANU and via Zoom, on how it could be made easier. https://blog.highereducationwhisperer.com/2021/06/why-are-covid-19-vaccination-booking.html

Don’t know how you could make it any easier. Either log on to the portal if you meet the very basic criteria (been to ACT government run health service with your current Medicare card) or call the governments phone number. There can be a long wait, but they offer a call back service which works, then answer a few questions and 2 minutes later you have a booking.

What more could you want?

JC it sounds like it would be easy enough but in my experience it just doesn’t work ? The online system wouldn’t recognise my Medicare card (possibly because I very rarely use the public health system), the call back took 6 hours and I still don’t know if the booking over the phone worked because the promised text with details never arrived! My later Facebook messenger conversation with ACT Health couldn’t find and answer so I’m back to calling the system again and waiting for the call back service to see if my first booking worked and what happened to the text. There must be an easier way!

So now the less vulnerable get the more effective and much better vaccine and the more vulnerable are still waiting on the second injection of the less effective AZ vaccine. Well done!

Both have the same level of effectiveness so AstraZenica is not inferior.

The main difference aside from the blood clot issue which is so minuscule it’s not worth worrying about is the 3 month wait between injections for AstraZenica and 3 weeks for Pfizer. During that wait period you are not fully protected, but partial is better than none.

There is not much difference between their effectiveness as the real world evidence has shown. Pfizer’s marketing team is just better.


The vaccine rollout in the ACT is a shemozzle. I went to the Garran Surge centre for my injection. I was told that because I was over 50 I had to travel all the way over to Calvary because they weren’t doing the AstraZeneca anymore.

I told them that Calvary was too far out of the way and I couldn’t go there. I then asked how I could get an injection. They spouted a lot of bureaucratic doubletalk before writing down 2 phone numbers for me to call. I didn’t want to phone numbers and be on hold for more than half an hour.

I then stopped off at a private medical clinic on the way home and booked in for the AstraZeneca in over a month’s time. It’s not really good enough, a lot of people would like to have the injection immediately with the Covid crisis in Victoria and in our local region on at the moment.

Clearly you had an appointment so why not go to where your appointment was scheduled. Bit rich to rock up to a different facility and expect to be seen and then call it a shamozzle.

Capital Retro5:30 pm 04 Jun 21

Have you tried driving from Garran to Bruce lately, JC? It’s a nightmare.

Online Booking didn’t work for me because when I try to register as a new user it fails after sending SMS confirmation. The number they tell you to ring for assistance is offline…

Capital Retro8:49 am 03 Jun 21

When are the 70+ year olds getting their turn?

Whenever you want to book in, they’ve been eligible for months.

Capital Retro10:11 am 03 Jun 21

How do I bypass the long waits on the phone book-in?

As a +70 you are only eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine (the vaccine linked to blood clots so now not given to productive members of the community under the age of 60.)

According to the WHO; “The AstraZeneca/Oxford product is a viral vectored vaccine called ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]. ChAdOx1-S has been found to have 63.09% efficacy and is suitable for low and middle income countries due to easy storage requirements.” https://www.who.int/news/item/15-02-2021-who-lists-two-additional-covid-19-vaccines-for-emergency-use-and-covax-roll-out

WHO advises that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have >90% efficacy.

So the government would be very grateful if you could help use up the over supply of less efficacious AstraZeneca vaccine and not ask for Pfizer and Moderna.

Capital Retro11:52 am 03 Jun 21

Bugger that, I’ll go without. I’m yet to be convinced any of them work. I’m a shingles sufferer and I had the shingles vaccination about 5 years ago. It didn’t work.

If there is a serious outbreak of Covid here and if you have health issues then any vaccine would be better than nothing.

Ah, so when yoy say “when can i get a vaccine”, you really mean “How can I not get a vaccine but blame everyone else for my own free choice”.

Ring up and book yourself in if you want one, the only thing stopping you getting a vaccine is your own choice to not do so.

With the phone waits there is an option to request a call back which works. There is also the online option, which by the fact you post here would mean you have access to the Internet.

And you also have the ability to call up any of the private practices that are offering injections and book in with them.

My family I called, my wife went online and my parents (both over 70) called one of the private practices. All no dramas what so ever.

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