The ACT government could be forced to fast track plans for a second vaccination hub after it was caught off-guard by AstraZeneca vaccines landing in Australia on Sunday.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith on Monday said she expected to have to set aside another location for AstraZeneca jabs to be administered, given the federal government didn't want it and the Pfizer vaccine injected at the same location.
The minister said that was for safety reasons and to ensure authorities could be certain of who got what vaccine.
"This is a significant logistical exercise and so the more notice that we can get, the better it will be in terms of standing up our workforce and making sure that we have the right location available," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
The Pfizer vaccine is being administered at the Garran Surge Centre.
The federal department of health on Monday published data which showed Australia used only 53 per cent of its allocated Pfizer vaccine doses in the first week of the national rollout.
The data showed the ACT used 978 of its allocated 1170 doses, but Ms Stephen-Smith said that target was based on nurses being able to retrieve six doses from each vial of Pfizer vaccine.
"Without a specially designed 'low dead space' syringe, it is not possible to retrieve six doses from each vial," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"The Commonwealth is responsible for delivering the consumables associated with the Pfizer vaccine, including the low dead space syringes.
"These have not yet been delivered."
Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT government hadn't expected Australia's first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in the country on Sunday, but it would work "quickly and collaboratively" with the federal government to find out how many doses the territory would get.
She said the ACT government expected its share of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be based on its population size, but there were also allowances for jurisdictions taking repatriation flights and serving the wider region.
About one million doses of the vaccine were expected to be rolled out across Australia by the end of March.
"We're about 1.5 [or] 2 per cent of the Australian population, so you can expect that that would be what we would see in terms of doses," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
AstraZeneca jabs were anticipated to start in Australia on March 8, but ACT authorities could not be sure that would be the same for the territory.
Ms Stephen-Smith said a repatriation flight from Singapore would land in Canberra on Monday night, but not all workers in the ACT's only quarantine hotel - Pacific Suites on Northbourne Avenue - had been given a COVID-19 jab.
The minister said authorities were chasing up those quarantine workers who hadn't tried to book in to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but Pacific Suites still had existing infection prevention and control arrangements in place.
"It's also really important to remember that vaccination is only one line of defence," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"ACT Health was really, really pleased with the way that [Canberra's] last [repatriation] flight [from Chennai in India] went."
The minister said while there had been some issues overseas with people rejecting the AstraZeneca vaccine in favour of trying to get the Pfizer vaccine, the government would work to encourage people to get whatever vaccine was available to them.
"The advice from the secretary of the Commonwealth, the department of the chief medical officer and others is that we're seeing more and more evidence that in fact the AstraZeneca vaccine is just as effective and just as safe as the Pfizer vaccine," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"We'll be doing a lot of work - the Commonwealth will certainly be doing a lot of work - to get that accurate information about the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine out into the community."
The minister said it was great news the first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine had arrived in Australia on Sunday.
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