General Frewen says drive-in vaccination plan yet to be worked through

Details of a plan for drive-in COVID-19 vaccination is yet to be worked through with the states and territories, the man in charge of Australia's rollout has revealed.

An update of Operation Target Shield released on Tuesday night suggested Australians in most jurisdictions will be able to get vaccinated in their cars by mid-October, once mRNA vaccines become more readily available.

Pilots for the system, which would be implemented in places like stadium carparks, are set for September with a view to making it operational by mid-October.

But speaking on Wednesday, COVID-19 Taskforce chief Lieutenant-General John Frewen revealed details over safety and logistics were yet to be thrashed out with the states and territories.

"There is a range of aspects there: lining the traffic up in an orderly way, having a way to administer the vaccines, and then having the ability to have people wait for a period of time for observation, to make sure everything is going OK and then release them," he said.

"One size will not fit all in Australia. The jurisdictions want to take different approaches and I think that is fine."

A range of countries, including the US and Canada, have already adopted the model to boost vaccine uptake.

Lieutenant General John Frewen. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Lieutenant General John Frewen. Picture: Keegan Carroll

The federal government is shifting focus to younger Australians, described by the Doherty Institute's Jodie McVernon "peak spreaders" of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

General Frewen's outline suggested people aged between 30 and 39 will become eligible for mRNA vaccines next month. Those aged between 16 and 29 are tipped to be eligible in October.

The first five months of Australia's vaccine rollout were hampered by a lack of Pfizer supply, and ATAGI advice against administering AstraZeneca to people aged under 60 without GP consultation.

But with the nation's intake of Pfizer on the increase, and 10 million Moderna doses to become available pending TGA approval, General Frewen is confident most Australians will be offered a vaccine by the end of the year.

"I will make sure that everybody gets a dose by Christmas. I will make sure that we put everything that we can to get to 70 per cent as soon as possible. Once we get there, we will have a look at working to get to 80 [per cent]," he said.

He urged jurisdictions to follow the ACT and Tasmania by opening up Pfizer to people aged over 30 if possible.

Labor has called for Australians to receive a one-off $300 payment if they were full vaccinated by December 1, and General Frewen revealed cash incentives, along with a vaccine lottery, were under consideration.

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"[But] what is resonating with people right now is being able to get back to the sort of lifestyle we used to enjoy: international travel, not having to do quarantine, not having to go into lockdown," he said.

Professor Sunderesh S. Heragu, who implemented a drive-in system during the swine flu pandemic, believed it was the most efficient way to increase vaccination rates.

At the time, ACT Health said drive-in vaccinations were not under consideration, citing concerns over the ability to safely administer vaccines and monitor people once they were immunised.

But with drive-in testing already a feature of the territory's COVID-19 response, there was speculation sites at Exhibition Park and Kambah could be converted into a vaccine hubs.

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This story Drive-in vaccinations need more detail first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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