The ACT government is eyeing the Australian Institute of Sport for its next mass vaccination hub, as the chief minister says Canberra could reach 70 per cent first dose coverage next month.
Andrew Barr said as the territory maintains above average vaccination take-up, the outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID-19 could result in an even better response from Canberrans.
The ACT took an early lead in the race to be vaccinated and now stands as the jurisdiction with the highest first dose coverage at 53 per cent.
Almost 30 per cent of the eligible population are fully immunised, trailing only marginally behind the Northern Territory and Tasmania.
"If this trend continues, then we may reach 70 per cent of the population with at least one dose in September," Mr Barr said.
"The current COVID-19 outbreak in the territory is a great reminder to all Canberrans on the importance of getting a vaccine.
"We have seen around Australia thatoutbreaks tend to increase vaccine levels, and the ACT might also experience this over the coming weeks."
Australia is working towards a 70 per cent vaccination target, hoping to reach it by November, which would mean the loosening of some restrictions in the event of an outbreak.
At 80 per cent coverage, lockdowns can end.
The targets were agreed to by state and territory leaders after assessing scientific modelling from the Doherty Institute.
A snap seven-day lockdown, enacted swiftly in the hopes of curtailing a Delta strain outbreak, has led to health workers stretched across critical roles of testing and vaccination.
Mr Barr said while vaccine efforts were not yet impacted, that may need to be reconsidered should the outbreak expand.
The ACT government plans to open a new mass Pfizer hub when supply increases, which has been tipped to happen in October.
Mr Barr said the AIS in Bruce was among the sites under consideration.
"The opening of the new clinic will support the additional supply of Pfizer when it becomes available in the coming months," he said.
"This work is not currently delayed by the ACT's current lockdown arrangements."
Pfizer hubs at Garran and the Airport precinct were recently boosted to provide more than 13,000 doses a week.
The vaccine rollout is picking up pace as pharmacies have also joined the fight, delivering AstraZeneca and, from next month, Moderna.
General practices across the city are on board, with AstraZeneca and Pfizer available at some clinics.
Canberrans have come forward in droves to get the jab, with Gen Y showing up all other age groups the day bookings opened for 30- to 39-year-olds.
The remaining cohort of people aged 16 to 29 are waiting in the wings for their chance to get the Pfizer jab.
"We are working with the Commonwealth government in relation to the availability that's coming next month," Mr Barr said.
The ACT is expecting up to 16,700 Pfizer doses weekly through September, which could increase to as much as 19,700 in October.
The Moderna vaccine, which recently gained approval from the the Therapeutic Goods Administration, will also join the armoury in September.
Mr Barr said there would be an arrangement with the federal government as to how that is distributed across pharmacy, doctors and government-run programs.
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The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely available with no shortage of supply.
Professor Catherine Bennett, chair in epidemiology at Deakin University, said Australia just "has to get the highest rates we possibly can" as the nation learns to live with the virus.
Australia has higher take-up of other vaccines compared to many other countries, Prof Bennett said.
"We are successful and the Australian population gets it," she said.
She said high coverage was important because there would always be people in the community who were unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons, or who chose not to.
"[They are] vulnerable, because the virus can still move through the community and ... everyone's probably going to be exposed at some point," Prof Bennett said.
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