PHARMACIES across the region could learn as early as next week when supplies for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be ready to roll out.
Moderna will become the third vaccine available in Australia and as an mRNA vaccine, like Pfizer, will only be available to people aged under-60.
Pharmacies already offering COVID jabs have been limited to AstraZeneca, which is now open to anyone aged 18-plus and is the only vaccine approved for over-60s to access.
Community body UFS Dispensaries has this week open AstraZeneca vaccinations to 14 of its 22 pharmacies, from Bacchus Marsh to Beaufort. This includes the Buninyong pharmacy, which had already been offering jabs to over-60s.
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UFS also runs the Commonwealth-funded vaccination centre on the corner of Dana and Doveton Street South.
The key difference, according to UFS chief Lynne McLennan, was pharmacies found more positive feedback from customers about being able to access the COVID vaccine from somewhere more local and familiar.
"Customers who have health concerns or questions about the vaccine are able to speak with their local pharmacist before making their booking," Ms McLennan said.
Pharmacies had also been a welcomed option for people who did not have access to the internet.
Other independent pharmacies across the region reported similar feedback in offering AstraZeneca as well as pharmacies offering easier access for advice and vaccines than trying to get appointments with general practitioners.
Ms McLennan reiterated the Victorian chief health officer's advice the best vaccine was the vaccine you could get today.
"The outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant in Victoria is not under control and the risk of hospitalisation, serious illness and death from this variant is high," Ms McLennan said.
"Full protection does not kick in until up to two weeks after the second dose of vaccine is administered, so the sooner people can have the first dose, the sooner they, and others around them, will be safe."
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