We're getting ready. Here's what you need to know.
With the recent news that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in Australia, and the Astra-Zeneca vaccine expected to be approved in the coming weeks, Danila Dilba and other Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are preparing for the rollout of the vaccine in the Northern Territory. The vaccine will be safe, effective, and free for all Australians. The Australian government is still making decisions about the vaccine on a daily basis, and there are still some important decisions to be made, but here’s what we know at the moment.
On January 25, the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) for use in people over the age of 16 in Australia. This is the same approval process that any other medicine in Australia goes through, rather than the emergency approvals we have seen in some other countries. This means that the vaccine is considered to have met the strict safety and efficacy requirements of other medicines we use in Australia.
Across the world, over 95 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far, and that number is growing every day. Australia is monitoring the huge amounts of safety data coming in on a daily basis to ensure the ongoing safety of the vaccine.
Most Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 18, will most likely receive a vaccine made by Astra-Zeneca. The Astra-Zeneca vaccine is expected to be approved by the TGA in the next few weeks. Australia has secured almost 51 million doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults will be vaccinated in Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout, meaning that they will be able to get the vaccine as early as possible.
It is estimated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will begin getting vaccinated in April. In Darwin, Danila Dilba will be delivering the vaccine at multiple locations in the Darwin and Palmerston area. COVID-19 vaccines must be administered in two doses, at least four weeks apart. Clinics and healthcare providers will help patients keep track of doses to ensure the second dose isn’t missed. Patients won’t need to get both doses from the same place, but it’s important to get both doses to ensure full protection from COVID-19.
The seasonal flu is still out there and can have devastating impacts, so patients should book in for a standard flu shot as well as the COVID-19 vaccine. The flu shot cannot be administered at the same time as the COVID vaccine, and there must be a 14 day buffer period between them.
What you need to do:
- Make sure your contact details are up to date at your local health care clinic
- Get your COVID-19 information from the NT Government, the Australian Government, or medical services like Danila Dilba
- Start talking with your friends and family about getting vaccinated and if you have questions, speak to a trusted health professional at your local clinic