Premier Mark McGowan announces Pfizer vaccinations for over 60s in Western Australia

Josh Zimmerman & Peter LawThe West Australian
Premier Mark McGowan says the jab will soon be available for over 60s.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan says the jab will soon be available for over 60s. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

Pfizer jabs will be made available to West Australians aged over 60 from next Monday in a major overhaul of the State’s vaccination rollout.

The move comes after similar announcements by the Northern Territory and South Australia over the weekend.

Growing supplies of both Pfizer and fellow mRNA vaccine Moderna have allowed the change, which it is hoped will encourage senior West Australians unsure about AstraZeneca to finally get the jab.

Pfizer will initially only be available to over 60s through State-run vaccination hubs. The Commonwealth has yet to give GPs the go-ahead to administer Pfizer to the over 60s.

Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook made the announcement this morning, saying it would “simplify” WA’s vaccine drive.

Pfizer bookings for over 60s will become available at State clinics from 6.30am on September 20, although Mr McGowan said anyone who had already received a first dose of AstraZeneca would not be eligible for Pfizer.

“If you’ve had a first dose of AZ, do not try to get a second dose of Pfizer… you should stay and get your second dose of AstraZeneca, that is the medical advice,” Mr McGowan said.

Mr Cook said the decision to open up Pfizer jabs to over 60s followed update advice from Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson and was based on increased confidence about future deliveries of the Pfizer jab from the Commonwealth Government.

The first dose vaccination rate among West Australians aged 60-69 – who are currently only eligible for AstraZeneca – is 78 per cent, while 49.9 per cent are double jabbed.

Mr Cook said AstraZeneca remained a safe vaccine but that he hoped offering the older cohort Pfizer would “give them extra opportunity and motivation to get vaccinated”.

On Monday, the Pfizer vaccine was made available to children aged 12-15, with 4409 bookings received as of 5pm yesterday and 314 jabs administered to this cohort.

WA’s vaccination rate lags most of the country, with 58.9 per cent of over 16s having received their first dose and 39.3 per cent fully vaccinated.

There are thousands of Pfizer bookings available at State-run clinics this week, including more than 1200 at the Claremont Showgrounds, almost 200 at the Joondalup hub, over 900 at the Kwinana clinic and about 400 at Midland.

By Friday, it will be compulsory for all residential aged care workers to have received at least one vaccine dose. However, the latest figures show 12.9 per cent of the workforce in WA have still yet to roll up their sleeve.

The vaccination rate of staff at some residential care homes in WA, including the Graceford Residential Aged Care in Byford and Banksia Park Aged Care in Calista, is between 70 and 79 per cent. Katanning MPS, which is run by the WA Country Health Service, has vaccination coverage between 60 and 69 per cent.

Mr Cook said aged care providers had told the Government they were confident all their facilities would be staffed and it was expected more workers would get jabbed in coming days.

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