17 July 2021

Vaccine registration expands, quarantining Canberrans get access to lockdown payments

| Dominic Giannini
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Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced the next step in the ACT’s vaccine rollout. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Canberrans between the ages of 30 and 39 will be able to register their interest in receiving the Pfizer vaccine at an ACT Government hub from Wednesday (21 July) and will be able to book in for vaccination as soon as supply becomes available.

Once registered through the ACT’s MyDHR system, Canberrans will likely receive a notification next month allowing them to book an appointment in September when vaccine supplies are expected to increase.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT was moving to allow registration early due to the overwhelming demand of people aged between 40 to 49 trying to book in as soon as they become eligible.

Mr Barr said there would be strong demand for the Pfizer vaccination in the under 40 age cohort.

“Canberrans are showing that they want to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their community from the worst health risks of COVID-19,” he said.

“Outbreaks across the country in the last few weeks show why we can’t be complacent when it comes to this virus. We’ve seen unvaccinated adults of all ages in hospitals and in intensive care with COVID-19.

“We absolutely have to treat vaccinations with urgency, and we must continue to do everything that we can to get people vaccinated as soon as possible.”

READ ALSO Barr canvasses workplace rollout for public service, defence, unis

Mr Barr also confirmed the ACT Government was working on opening a third Pfizer hub to cope with the expected increase in supply, just days after Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the government was considering what the best option moving forward would be.

The Commonwealth Government had previously announced that a shipment of 4.5 million Pfizer doses would now be arriving in August instead of September. Ms Stephen-Smith said this would increase the minimum number of Pfizer doses the ACT Government receives per week to around 15,000, up from 13,000.

The ACT is projected to receive between 12,600 and 14,000 Pfizer doses per week in July and August before increasing to between 15,000 and 16,700 in September and between 17,700 and 19,700 from October.

The ACT Government is currently receiving around 10,500 doses a week.

COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine

The ACT Government currently receives around 10,500 Pfizer doses a week from the Commonwealth. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Around 9000 Pfizer doses were administered by the ACT Government last week. The current capacity is around 13,000 doses a week across the two Territory-run hubs.

Mr Barr also confirmed ACT residents who had been to a Commonwealth-declared hotspot and were undertaking quarantining or lockdown requirements in the Territory would be eligible to receive income support payments from the Federal Government.

READ MORE New tourism support measures for ACT businesses

Canberrans subject to health orders after visiting interstate hotspots were previously unable to access the payment, sparking frustration from Mr Barr who said payments should be available for people from declared hotspots and not depend on where they undertook their quarantine.

Mr Barr raised the issue with Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Friday’s (16 July) National Cabinet meeting.

He also said he raised support for the tourism industry more broadly as many parts of the country are experiencing a demand shock, with half of Australia’s population subject to lockdown orders despite not being subject to restrictions themselves.

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I’m one of the over 60s with underlying health issues and my GP says I shouldn’t have the AZ vaccine. I can’t take the risk of an anaphylactic reaction to AZ because it would be severe, and the only time I can get Pfizer atm is……. if I have an anaphylactic reaction to AZ. Catch 22, and a federal govt who isn’t listening….as usual. Nothing changed for us at the 16 July National Cabinet meeting Mr Barr, I’d be vaccinated immeditely if I could have the Pfizer vaccination.

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