Australians could soon receive coronavirus jabs at drive-through hubs, stadiums and shopping centres under an expanded vaccination rollout.
The federal government’s updated Operation COVID Shield campaign reveals plans for mass vaccination sites, which could also include supermarkets and conference centres.
Drive-through vaccination hubs in stadium car parks could be established in mid-August with the first trials next month before being widely used in October.
Jabs at work are slated to start in late September before operating in most states and territories by the end of November.
Commonwealth Bank and Westpac will trial AstraZeneca vaccinations for staff and their families in Sydney’s hot spots from as soon as next week.
A retail pilot, which would include shopping centres and supermarkets, could be up and running in October.
Wesfarmers – which owns Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks – offered its sites for mass vaccination hubs last month during a meeting with senior government figures.
Schools could also be used from December under state and territory government-run programs if experts approve Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.
Vaccine rollout commander John Frewen said the measures would help reach the goal to offer all Australians a vaccine by the end of the year.
“What I would really like to see as we get late in the year is the maximum convenience available for people in Australia to get vaccinated,” he told the ABC.
Doherty Institute modelling, adopted by federal and state governments, recommends immunising younger adults to reduce tranmission of the virus.
The institute’s epidemiology director Jodie McVernon said maintaining high vaccination rates in over-60s coupled with immunising younger people could halve the disease burden.
“What we’re advising now is a strategic shift to maximise those benefits by moving to younger groups who are key spreaders of infection,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
The modelling also shows the benefits of maintaining high quality testing, tracing and quarantine alongside low-level social distancing when 70 per cent coverage is achieved.
In the first 180 days of an outbreak 16 people would die with strong measures in place, while the toll could reach almost 2000 without effective restrictions.
Prof McVernon said deaths were inevitable once Australia moved to more open phases of the pandemic.
“We’re not going to lie about that but the reality is we can’t avoid COVID forever,” she said.
Australia’s leaders are gunning for a 70 per cent target to significantly reduce the prospect of major lockdowns and 80 per cent to all but end city-wide shutdowns.
Almost one-in-five people over 16 have received both doses of a vaccine.
NSW recorded another 233 new local cases on Wednesday, while a man in his 20s died from the disease at his southwest Sydney home.
A woman in her 80s died in hospital with the two latest fatalities taking the national toll to 927.
Queensland recorded 16 new locally acquired coronavirus infections.
There were no new cases in Victoria, the first day without local transmission since July 12.
© AAP 2021