The director of Wagga's COVID-19 vaccine hub has reassured the community that the Pfizer vaccine is still readily available at the clinic and at other GPs across the region, following news that doses of the jab would be redirected from regional NSW to Sydney.
The state government has announced that it will be redirecting doses of Pfizer from regional NSW to eight LGAs in Greater Sydney as part of a vaccination program for year 12 students.
Wagga GP and Glenrock Country Practice director Dr Ayman Shenouda said the redirection will only impact state Pfizer supplies to places like the hospital, not the GP clinic, which receives doses from the federal government.
"This is a state decision, not a Commonwealth decision," Dr Shenouda said.
"We're not going to see any change as a result of that."
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Dr Shenouda said that people in the community who already have a vaccination booked in at the clinic or with their GP have nothing to worry about, with the federal supply unaffected.
Wagga's GP-led vaccination hub receives 900 doses of Pfizer per week, and adjusts its amount of AstraZeneca depending on booking numbers.
Dr Shenouda is encouraging more people in the regions to come forward and be vaccinated.
"The reality is we need to have (as many) people vaccinated as we can," he said.
"The more people vaccinated, the better it is that we're going to get out of this."
Finley GP Alam Yoosuff said that with reduced Pfizer at state government hubs, GPs may see an increase in demand. He believes they are prepared for this.
"In the Murrumbidgee I know there's about 80 odd general practices, and of that one quarter of them are doing Pfizer at the moment," Dr Yoosuff said, with more GPs expected to come on board in the next two to four weeks.
Both Dr Shenouda and Dr Yoosuff are urging the community to place more trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine, and for people - particularly those over 60 - to get vaccinated.
Dr Yoosuff said that vaccine hesitancy is doing down "in many age groups", however roughly 30 to 40 per cent of people aged over 60 are not yet vaccinated.
"What I'm getting from moving Pfizer from regional, state-run hubs to high school students in LGAs affected by the current outbreak ... is the government is giving a clear signal; if you're 60 and above don't wait, just go and get the AstraZeneca vaccine straight away," he said.
"If you wait for Pfizer you're going to be back in the queue even after the adolescents.
"Waiting is not a option at any cost, unfortunately, and the best vaccine in your arm is the first vaccine you get into your arm."
Deputy Premier John Barilaro backed the decision to redirect regional Pfizer doses to Sydney, arguing that vaccination in the city is vital in preventing the spread of the virus into the regions.
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