One in five children aged 12 to 15 vaccinated as Moderna arrives

Pharmacists in Sydney’s hot spots received doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday, as it was revealed one in five children aged 12 to 15 are now partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

© Getty On Monday, 13 pharmacies within local government areas of concern in Sydney received their first shipments of the Moderna vaccine, the third brand of COVID-19 shot to be added to the rollout.

Just after 1.40pm, Edensor Park year 8 student Dylan Nguyen Ton became one of the first people in Australia to receive the vaccine.

The 14-year-old arrived at Taylor’s Pharmacy at Cabramatta with his grandmother, Aileen, who was receiving her second AstraZeneca shot.

“I just want to get back to school and see my friends,” Dylan said, adding he will be looking for a part-time job in the next year and expects vaccination will be a requirement.

While some pharmacies are reporting waitlists for Moderna shots, one million of which have arrived since Thursday night, Dylan said he did not know they had become available and was thinking he would try to find a GP giving Pfizer doses after his grandmother’s appointment.

“We decided to try to get me the vaccine today and it just happened that it was here,” he said.

Taylor’s Pharmacy received its first 200 Moderna doses on Monday morning. Within an hour at least 10 bookings had been made, but pharmacist Quinn On said he was likely to administer the bulk of vaccines via walk-ins.

“It just makes it so much more convenient and accessible for people, I think about 90 per cent of people in this area prefer walking in over pre-booked appointments,” he said.

On Monday, 13 pharmacies within local government areas of concern in Sydney received their first shipments of the Moderna vaccine, the third brand of COVID-19 shot to be added to the rollout.

Twenty per cent of children aged 12 to 15 in NSW have now received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, after bookings of the Pfizer vaccine were made available to the age group last week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the uptake had been “outstanding” and encouraged parents to take advantage of the Moderna appointments, describing the 12-15 age bracket as “critical” for when schools return next month.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use in people aged 12 and over. AstraZeneca is approved for use in people aged 18 and older.

Across NSW, 82.2 per cent of the over-16 population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 52.7 per cent are fully vaccinated, NSW Health reported on Monday.

Eight of the pharmacies scheduled to receive Moderna on Monday were in the Canterbury-Bankstown area. Two, including Mr On’s, were in Cabramatta and the remaining three were at Guildford, Kogarah and Lugarno.

More than 1800 community pharmacies across Australia will receive Moderna doses this week, including 569 in NSW. An additional 1800 will receive doses from September 27.

“Allocations across NSW will range between 100 and 150 doses a week initially, increasing to between 150 and 200 doses per community pharmacy later in October,” the federal Department of Health said in a statement.

Howie Yi, pharmacist at Priceline Canterbury, received his doses on Monday. He said he would spend the afternoon determining how appointments would work: a waitlist of about 100 people had been building “for the past few weeks”.

“It’s people of all ages but there’s a lot of demand from parents for teenagers,” he said, noting most adults who had asked about their vaccination options had decided to receive AstraZeneca at the pharmacy, although some had “opted to wait”.

Warren Del-Grande, pharmacist at Lugarno Pharmacy said he had a Moderna wait list of more than 50 people, with more than half aged 12 to 15. He was still waiting for his doses to arrive on Monday afternoon.

“We have been administering AstraZeneca for six weeks but it’s tapered off a bit now,” he said.

“Ever since word got out we might get Moderna people have said they will wait. There is still a hesitancy [about AstraZeneca] there.”

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