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

Dominic Giannini 3 June 2021 56
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

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56 Responses to ACT expands vaccine rollout to cover 40 to 49-year-olds
Ol L Ol L 2:25 pm 04 Jun 21

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

Margaret Lay Margaret Lay 12:49 pm 04 Jun 21

I would rather have the Pfizer shot than AZ due to being more compatible to the Pfizer. I am 61 where can I book in for that? I would like to participate in the vaccine program.

Tam Al Tam Al 8:51 am 04 Jun 21

That happened to me too but the second time I had more luck. I requested a dial back and was called back about 2 hours later and booked my appointment for the same day (yesterday afternoon). Went to Garran for my 330 appt and had my first Pfizer dose by 340. No complaints from me!!

Acton Acton 7:52 am 04 Jun 21

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.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:38 am 04 Jun 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:40 am 04 Jun 21

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

    Acton Acton 3:01 pm 04 Jun 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 5:32 pm 04 Jun 21

    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.

    jared jared 6:32 pm 04 Jun 21

    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!

Stuart Roesler Stuart Roesler 1:39 am 04 Jun 21

Tried online. Nope. Called and chose call back. Nope. ACT health thoughts? Advice?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 5:30 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 Worthington Tom Worthington 3:57 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.

    JC JC 5:45 pm 03 Jun 21

    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?

    Shay Daisy Shay Daisy 6:13 pm 03 Jun 21

    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!

Karen Baldwin Karen Baldwin 2:57 pm 03 Jun 21

I booked online today - I'm booked in for Sunday.

The online booking system was easy to use.

purplevh purplevh 2:40 pm 03 Jun 21

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!

    JC JC 5:50 pm 03 Jun 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:42 am 04 Jun 21

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

John Moulis John Moulis 1:12 pm 03 Jun 21

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.

    JC JC 5:52 pm 03 Jun 21

    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 Retro Capital Retro 5:30 pm 04 Jun 21

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

jared jared 9:29 am 03 Jun 21

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 Retro Capital Retro 8:49 am 03 Jun 21

When are the 70+ year olds getting their turn?

    chewy14 chewy14 9:16 am 03 Jun 21

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

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:11 am 03 Jun 21

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

    JC JC 5:55 pm 03 Jun 21

    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.

    Acton Acton 11:39 am 03 Jun 21

    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.”

    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 Retro Capital Retro 11:52 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.

    Acton Acton 12:09 pm 03 Jun 21

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

    chewy14 chewy14 2:08 pm 03 Jun 21

    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.

Amy Phillips Amy Phillips 7:21 am 03 Jun 21

Just tried to call. The phone line is saying closed and open between 8-5. Hopefully it will update soon. I've tried registering online but won't identify my medicare card

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 7:29 am 03 Jun 21

    Don't even bother trying to call. It's only for certain high priority groups according to the message I listened to last week.

    Amy Phillips Amy Phillips 7:32 am 03 Jun 21

    Natalee Gersbach very frustrating that the information online is conflicting. I can see why this whole process has been so frustrating for so many

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 7:36 am 03 Jun 21

    Amy Phillips Yeah, so many problems with the rollout. Especially if you're elderly and need to sign up to something online in order to get the jab. I'm going to hazard a guess that the elderly are less likely to be able to get online to do that compared to calling to book.

    Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 2:53 pm 03 Jun 21

    Amy Phillips my card isn’t recognised either. So frustrating. Everyone s card should be recognised. Would make booking online so much better

    Daayna Shannyn Daayna Shannyn 3:15 pm 03 Jun 21

    Amy Phillips I had this issue too and called the helpline on 02 5124 5000 and they fixed it straight away and I was able to log in and book a shot for next week.

    Amy Phillips Amy Phillips 3:30 pm 03 Jun 21

    Daayna Shannyn I called back a bit later, requested a call back, call back received and all booked in! Seems like things are running smoothly now

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:00 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Amy, for a few minutes this morning we experienced some technical issues. Some of you may have heard the wrong message when calling. Our teams have resolved this matter. We apologise for the inconvenience. There is a high demand on our booking line and your patience is appreciated. Information on how to book (online or over the phone) is available on our page

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:01 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Natalee, the ACT is booking everyone aged 40 years and over and those in 1a or 1b. Information on how to book is available on our page

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:02 pm 03 Jun 21

    People can make bookings by calling our booking line 02 5124 7700 (7am to 7pm daily). We also have a call back service so you don’t have to wait on the line.

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:03 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Elspeth Shannon, we contacted you earlier about this issue and hope it’s now been resolved. Please contact ACT Health directly to resolve this. Many thanks!

    Amy Phillips Amy Phillips 9:08 pm 03 Jun 21

    ACT Health thanks for the update. I managed to call through and request a callback. Received my callback and was able to book in and get my first shot this afternoon! Looks like the system is working great now.

    Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 9:33 pm 03 Jun 21

    Amy Phillips lucky you. I’m still waiting for my call back

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 4:07 pm 04 Jun 21

    ACT Health 98th in the queue and several attempts to log onto that stupid website that I have no desire to log into. No thanks.

Jon Ingram Jon Ingram 7:07 am 03 Jun 21

ACT gov please update your phone message and open at the stated time.

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:05 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Jon, for a few minutes this morning our booking line experienced some technical issues. Some of you may have heard the wrong message when calling. Our teams have resolved this matter. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Milton Peach Betjeman Milton Peach Betjeman 7:07 am 03 Jun 21

"Sorry we are closed"

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:06 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Milton Peach, for a few minutes this morning our booking line experienced some technical issues. Some of you may have heard the wrong message when calling. Our teams have resolved this matter. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Katy Grimes Katy Grimes 7:05 am 03 Jun 21

Typical phone line not yet commenced - hopeless

    ACT Health ACT Health 9:05 pm 03 Jun 21

    Hi Katy, for a few minutes this morning our booking line experienced some technical issues. Some of you may have heard the wrong message when calling. Our teams have resolved this matter. We apologise for the inconvenience.

    Katy Grimes Katy Grimes 9:06 pm 03 Jun 21

    ACT Health yes it was fixed after half an hour

Courtney Matthew Courtney Matthew 7:01 am 03 Jun 21

Jason Matthew you are eligible now

Corey Karl Corey Karl 6:20 am 03 Jun 21

With a population of only about 400,000..... why is it taking so long ??

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 6:36 am 03 Jun 21

    Corey Karl likely due to supplies given each state would receive a quota based on population size overall, and size of certain sub-groups such as medical, aged care and age demographics.

Christine McPherson Christine McPherson 6:19 am 03 Jun 21

Adam Wilkinson-reed you were a day early bro

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