The first shipment of Moderna vaccines have arrived in Australia, with one million doses expected to be in the country from this weekend.
Moderna is the third type of COVID-19 vaccine to be used, with national first dose figures for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs now cracking the 70 per cent milestone.
The Moderna shipment arrived in the country on Friday night, with a second expected soon after.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Moderna doses meant more GP clinics would be able to administer the vaccine to the public.
“These are very important because they simply provide not only more vaccines, but more points of access for Australians everywhere,” the minister said.
“My hope is that everybody who has not yet taken the vaccine will come forward over the coming days and weeks and there is sufficient vaccine for every Australian before the end of October, if not slightly earlier.”
Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said the new vaccine would be crucial to lifting the vaccination rate of young Australians.
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“The young who have been placed at the back of the queue can actually get Moderna into themselves very fast, and they can be doing it for Pfizer as well,” she told ABC.
“I’m really pleased for Australians to get Moderna, because it doesn’t need ultra-cold storage, which basically means that GPs can roll it out easily, pharmacies can roll it out.”
The vaccine rollout was a major talking point at the latest national cabinet meeting, which was held on Friday afternoon.
The national plan to transition away from lockdowns once vaccination targets are reached was also discussed, along with updated Doherty Institute modelling and the situation in virus-affected jurisdictions.
The most recent federal figures showed Australia is now at 70.5 per cent of over 16s having received their first vaccine dose, while more than 45 per cent are fully immunised.
However, the figures for young age groups remain significantly lower, with just 22 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds and 19 per cent of 20 to 24-year-olds being fully vaccinated.
It comes as home quarantine trials are set to begin for fully vaccinated returning Australians.
The four-week trial will see 175 people who have received two vaccine doses spend seven days in quarantine at home, rather than two weeks in a hotel.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said he wanted to see home quarantine as soon as possible to allow more fully vaccinated people to return to Australia from overseas.Internet Explorer Channel Network