Canberra pharmacists, "thrilled" to join the vaccine rollout, say it could have happened months ago.
More than 60 pharmacies across the territory could soon administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, a move which Pharmacy Guild of Australia ACT branch president Simon Blacker said was "better late than never".
Pharmacies have been crying out to join the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for months and on Monday all those which have been deemed eligible, about 66 in Canberra, will be able to finally start the process.
Mr Blacker expected all pharmacies which wanted to join the rollout would be administering vaccines by mid August.
"Community pharmacies across the ACT are pleased and feeling like saying, 'about time'," he said.
He said there seemed "no logical reason" pharmacies hadn't been brought into the rollout earlier given there aren't supply constraints on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
That jab is recommended for people over 60 and Mr Blacker said pharmacists were already having conversations with patients but felt "hamstrung" in their ability to help, now they'll be able to follow through.
"Given many pharmacies in the territory are open seven days a week, it should mean ... there might be a lift in vaccination rates because of that," he said.
"Based on the number of pharmacies and GPs [providing the vaccine], there'd be more than 150 points of access."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced from July 26 all approved community pharmacies would be able to administer AstraZeneca and could start the training and certification process.
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The expansion to chemists was initially slated for September.
Around 4000 pharmacies across the country have been approved to take part in the program.
"I'm concerned about ensuring that we get those over 70 in particular vaccinated," Mr Morrison said.
Chemists will also be given access to Pfizer and Moderna doses when enough are available, likely in September.
Capital Chemist stores across Canberra have been ready to administer the vaccine for months, group business manager Andrew Topp said, thrilled that the day had arrived.
"We've had the infrastructure for vaccination for years," he said.
Training, system upgrades and planning was completed earlier this year, after the expression of interest was lodged in February.
"It's about bloody time," Mr Topp said.
He said pharmacies were accessed by people who might not have a regular doctor, or be able to get an appointment.
"There is existing demand for [other] vaccines met by pharmacies that is not being met by doctors because patients don't want to go or can't go," Mr Topp said.
- With AAP
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