Australia’s vaccine rollout is kicking up a gear today, as the criteria is broadened out to anyone over the age of 50.
The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will now be available at General Practice Respiratory Clinics, with several states also offering the shot at mass vaccination centres.
Later this month, GPs will also be able to vaccinate the over-50s.
It means nearly 6 million Australians not yet vaccinated in the 50 to 69-year-old age group of the rollout are now eligible.
Speaking to the ABC Network, the country’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly urged Australians to take up the opportunity.
“I’d really encourage anyone over 50 to have a look at our eligibility checker online,” he said.
“We’re going to see a major increase in people taking the vaccine, I’m sure.”
Last week Australia passed the milestone of administering 2 million doses of the vaccine, falling well short of initial government expectations.
By now, it had forecast to have given out nearly 5 million doses.
Further complicating things, is the changing advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is recommending those under the age of 50 get the Pfizer vaccination, due to the small but serious risk of blood clotting.
The Federal Government was forced to scrap its initial vaccination targets, warning those under the age of 50 that they might not receive their first injection until later in the year.
In New Zealand, vaccination of the general population is due to start from July. New Zealand is currently using the Pfizer vaccine, of which it has secured an order for 10 million doses.
Australia has so far administered 2,179,544 vaccinations, equivalent to 8.76 doses per 100 people, according to Our World in Data figures published by the New York Times.
1 NEWS yesterday revealed Government ministers are to meet with large venues like Eden Park in coming weeks, with stadiums possibly being used as large-scale jab centres in order to boost vaccination numbers.
New Zealand has given 232,588 doses - 4.7 per 100 people.
People in New Zealand can find out when they can get vaccinated here.
Australia's vaccination programme is set out by the Federal Government here.