Pharmacies brought forward in jab rollout

Pharmacists' involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be brought forward.
Pharmacists' involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be brought forward.

More pharmacies will be brought into the coronavirus vaccination rollout sooner under a plan to fuel national jab rates.

More than 110 have started administering AstraZeneca jabs across Australia but that is expected to rise to about 470 by the end of the month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the expansion slated for September would be brought forward to mid-next month.

"Bringing in the pharmacists earlier than we'd planned ... means that we can get more horsepower behind the AstraZeneca vaccines," he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"I'm concerned about ensuring that we get those over 70 in particular getting vaccinated."

Chemists will also be given access to Pfizer and Moderna doses when enough are available, likely in September.

Around 4000 pharmacies across the country have been approved to take part in the program after meeting training and other requirements.

The government has determined 1262 suitable pharmacies in regional, rural and remote areas and 2668 in metropolitan areas are suitable to join the rollout.

Labor's health spokesman Mark Butler said pharmacies were supposed to join the rollout in May.

"Starting now is not brought forward and accelerated," he said.

Mr Morrison said people below the recommended AstraZeneca age of 60 could receive the jab at a pharmacist.

Pharmacists will be offered the same legal protections as doctors who administer the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Mr Morrison said chemists would follow the same informed consent process as GPs.

In Sydney, where an outbreak of the contagious Delta strain of coronavirus continues, 48 pharmacies in hotspot areas will start vaccinating people early next week.

All community pharmacies will be eligible to request permission to administer AstraZeneca jabs from Monday.

Australian Associated Press