Studies of GPs cancelling or suspending COVID vaccine appointments for 5-11 12 months olds are piling up, with determined mother and father expressing anger and concern about how their as-yet unvaccinated kids will fare as Omicron case numbers explode.
Federal COVID-19 Process Drive Commander Lieutenant Basic John Frewen mentioned on Monday:
Provide isn’t the problem; we’ve obtained sufficient vaccines. The true problem now could be simply getting the distribution to the place the demand is biggest.
South Australia’s well being deputy chief govt Don Frater, nonetheless, has reportedly mentioned that state has “extra demand than what we have now provide”.
The kid’s dose is available in completely different vials to the grownup dose, with completely different packaging.
The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine for kids has come at a troublesome time, from a logistics perspective. Many GPs have mentioned “supply delays” are behind the necessity to reschedule appointments.
Australia might miss out on a number of COVID vaccines if it will probably’t make mRNA ones regionally
What is perhaps behind the delays?
This can be a specialised product, which must be saved in particular freezers at -80℃, and clearly must be transported in a sure means.
There are a number of steps within the transport course of – from the provider abroad to the transport service bringing them to Australia, from their touchdown spot within the nation, to specialised storage, to particular person GPs.
Every of these steps require employees on the bottom to make sure the system works – and plenty of staff on this system are probably being affected by Omicron.
The identical staffing points leading to empty grocery store cabinets may very well be affecting the vaccine distribution community too.
1000’s of drivers, administration employees, packers and logistics planners may very well be furloughed, off sick or in isolation as a result of a family member is.
The rollout of the 5-11 12 months previous vaccination program, timed in an effort to get youngsters vaccinated earlier than faculty begins, additionally comes scorching on the heels of the Christmas and New 12 months break; even with out Omicron, it’s potential staffing numbers throughout the provision chain and logistics community are nonetheless but to return to pre-Christmas ranges.
There have been anecdotal studies of some folks having their booster appointments being cancelled too, so it appears it isn’t solely 5-11 12 months olds who’re affected.
Security, unwanted side effects, allergy symptoms and doses. The COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 12 months olds defined
It’s arduous to understand how widespread the problem is. Frewen instructed Dawn on Monday
should you’re having hassle in the mean time, perhaps along with your regular healthcare supplier, your GP, then please do attempt pharmacies, perhaps attempt one of many state and territory clinics as they arrive on-line.
He instructed RN Breakfast that:
We may have greater than sufficient vaccines for each child to have their first dose earlier than the tip of the 12 months.
This have to be very irritating for individuals who have tried to get in early and are eager to have their kids vaccinated as quickly as potential.
Clearly, one thing has fallen over someplace within the distribution. It might be good to have some readability from authorities and trade on precisely the place the systemic issues are and what’s being deliberate to handle them.
Home manufacturing of mRNA vaccines
The Therapeutic Items Administration (TGA) solely simply provisionally authorized the usage of Pfizer’s COMINARTY COVID vaccine for folks aged 5-11 years on December 3.
Moderna’s utility for the usage of SPIKEVAX COVID vaccine for kids beneath age 12 remains to be beneath analysis, in accordance with the TGA.
Hopefully, as soon as that’s authorized, mother and father of kids within the 5-11 12 months previous age bracket may have extra selection on the place and the way they will get their baby vaccinated.
Each Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and consultants have lengthy referred to as for a lift in home mRNA manufacturing capability so Australia is much less reliant on abroad provides.
Promisingly, Moderna and the Australian authorities late final 12 months introduced an in-principle settlement to construct a mRNA manufacturing facility in Victoria. The positioning will hopefully be up and working by 2024, in accordance with media studies.
That’s one thing to be celebrated, and home manufacturing would hopefully imply a shorter and fewer advanced provide chain with much less alternative for difficulties in future. Nevertheless it does spotlight it could have been good to have one thing labored out earlier.
It might even be prudent for the federal government to contemplate what it’d take to lure Pfizer to develop mRNA manufacturing functionality in Australia. You would argue, from a market viewpoint, it may very well be strategic for Moderna to have a producing competitor right here in Australia too.
If we’re critical about constructing our biotechnology sector in Australia, then having monopoly of only one participant within the nation won’t be excellent.
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Archa Fox receives funding from the Australian Analysis Council. She is a member of the Australia New Zealand RNA Manufacturing Consortium that has lobbied for institution of onshore mRNA vaccine manufacturing in Australia