New COVID vaccine in pharmacies from today

The new COVID-19 vaccine to target the current Omicron variant of the virus will be available in community pharmacies throughout Australia from today.

The category of vaccines known as XBB 1.5 was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in October and can be used as a primary vaccination dosage as well as booster dosages.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, Professor Trent Twomey says the new vaccine will be more targeted at the virus which is currently circulating among the population.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it is important that anyone who is due for their vaccination does so as soon as they can at their local community pharmacy,” Professor Twomey said.

“Health authorities have recommended that vaccines move away from formulations which target the original or ancestral strain”.

Professor Twomey said that the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is not recommending those who are not due for their vaccination to get an additional booster because of the arrival of the new vaccine.

“The advice remains that you must wait six months from your last jab to get your next booster shot and older vaccinations still provide protection against the severest of symptoms,” he said.

The vaccines available are being manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer has two formulations with one for patients over the age of five and less than twelve and one for patients over the age of twelve. The Moderna vaccine is for patients over the age of twelve.

Professor Twomey says Australia’s community pharmacies delivered during the pandemic and continue to deliver for patients today.

“We’ve administered more than 11 million vaccinations since the pandemic, so my advice is if you need a vaccination, think pharmacy first,” he said.

To find your nearest pharmacy go to Find a Pharmacy.

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