Earlier this month, NSW premier Gladys Berijiklian promised to create three new mass-vaccination hubs to help speed up the state's sluggish vaccination rollout. In good news for Sydneysiders, one such hub has popped up in the CBD on 175 Pitt Street, along with another mass-vaccination hub in Belmont, Lake Macquarie, in Greater Newcastle.
The premier has repeatedly underlined, in her daily press briefings, that mass vaccination is the only route out of rolling lockdowns and back to a somewhat normal life. These new hubs form a major part of increasing the NSW government’s vaccination infrastructure – the goal is to get the state’s vaccination rate up to 200,000 jabs into arms per week. The Pitt Street hub, operated by Sonic Healthcare, can contribute around 7000 Pfizer jabs per week, however supply of the Pfizer vaccine – the preferred vaccine for people aged under 60 – is currently extremely limited in Australia. New supplies of the Pfizer vaccination are expected in September.
While Pfizer stocks are low, everyone over the age of 18 can now receive an AstraZeneca vaccine in NSW. In recent weeks, age restrictions for the AstraZeneca vaccine have been shifted. People under 40 in NSW can now get the AstraZeneca jab at any of the government vaccination hubs. If you are aged under 40, you can be vaccinated at your GP's surgery after a consult. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also pressuring ATAGI to soften its stance on AstraZeneca for younger Australians, in a bid to reduced vaccine hesitancy. ATAGI currently recommends Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for those aged 16-59, due to an extremely rare blood clotting condition that has occurred in some recipients aged under 60.