The Pfizer vaccine will finally, finally be available to all Australians aged 16 to 39 from August 30, but we’re being told not to book… yet.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Scott Morrison said cabinet had decided to open up Pfizer bookings to people under 40, who until now have been largely ineligible.
However, he told people not to book just yet, and that the government would advise when it’s time to do so. (Okay…? You can also figure out how to get vaccinated right now, or if not, register to be notified when you’re eligible with our no-BS guide here.)
“It isn’t today. Not today,” he said.
“We will advise when the time will come over the course of the next week. But advising you, it has been a question put to me for some time as when we’d bring that 16- to 39-year-olds forward. The question is usually about 20- to 39-year-olds but we decided to go all the way through the 16-year-olds to 39-year-olds, some 8.6 million Australians in the group.”
Obviously, people aged 39 and under have been eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine with informed consent and a sign off from a GP, but for people who have been advised the AZ vaccine isn’t suitable, this is huge, welcome news.
Morrison said he expects ATAGI advice on vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds “very soon”, with the government waiting on that advice before moving towards large scale vaccination of that age group.
There are also questions as to when children will be vaccinated, given the spread in some daycare centres.
“One of the best ways to protect your children is to get vaccinated yourself,” Morrison said.
“That was one of the clear pieces of advice coming out of the Doherty Institute modelling.”
It comes as Australia crosses the 50% target for people in the 16+ population having at least their first dose, with 28.2% fully vaccinated. As of August 18, more than 10 million (10,359,796) people had received their first dose, which equates to 50.2% of the 16+ population. More than 5.8 million (28.2%) have been fully vaccinated.
South Australia opened up Pfizer bookings to under 40s this week, with almost immediate reports of lengthy wait times to secure appointments.
It’s worth remembering that when deciding on your own vaccination path (if you’re not one of the 10,359,796 people who’ve already gotten at least one jab): just because you’ll be able to book from August 30, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get an appointment sooner. If you can get the AstraZeneca vaccine sooner, and you’re facing a non-zero change of catching or passing on Covid, that might be the safer option.
However, as more information comes to light about how and when you’ll be able to get a Pfizer vaccine, we’ll keep you updated.Image: Getty Images