After a few false starts — or, being so wildly behind in the vaccine rollout that our Prime Minister actually gave up on vaccination targets (we’re very far behind, and it’s costing us billions) — it seems we’ve managed to reach phase 2a of the vaccine rollout. That is, people aged 50 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 16-49 years of age, or other critical or high-risk workers are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although this technically began two weeks ago through state-run vaccination centres and Commonwealth respiratory clinics, Australian’s in this phase can now receive the vaccination from one of the more than 4,000 GP clinics across the country registered as part of the program, the ABC reports.
According to a statement from the federal health department, there are over 4,300 GPs that can vaccinate people aged 50 years and over, starting from May 17. And in a win for rural Australia — communities that have also recently faced a mouse plague and flooding — 1,500 of those GPs are located in regional, rural and remote locations.
As previously advised by the government, those over 50 will receive the AstraZeneca shot. To find out what GP clinic near you is part of the program, the Department of Health’s eligibility checker is adding new locations; you can see what clinics near you administer them, or call your local GP to check.
Good news – new locations have been added to the online #COVID19 Vaccine Clinic Finder. To help vaccination clinics during this busy period, please be patient when booking your appt. To check your eligibility & view all available clinics near you, visit https://t.co/XhmfFpFuZY pic.twitter.com/zGRFFanLL5
— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) May 16, 2021
The Australian reported that Scott Morrison confirmed the news on May 16, saying “If you are over 50, you can go to your GP who are providing these vaccines.” Adding to this, the Prime Minister boasted that, “We tripped over the three million mark, on Friday [May 14], as I said we would. And we’re seeing the vaccination program just go from strength to strength and the rollout with states and territories again amping up next week.”
One thing to note before you book the vaccine for yourself, or a relative, friend, or loved one who is now eligible to get the vaccine is that there has to be a two-week gap between getting the flu vaccine, and getting the COVID jab — talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
And if you’re wondering what it’s like to get the COVID vaccine, our weekend editor can answer that for you.