Pharmacies to start giving Moderna vaccine next week

More than one million doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in Australia over the weekend.

The first shipment of the vaccine will arrive tonight and the second shipment over the coming days.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said over 1800 pharmacies will start distributing Moderna next week.

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A car departs the new drive-through vaccination clinic at Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney.

They will start administering jabs once testing by the medical safety body is complete.

"They will start aggressively during the week as they are ready and as supplies arrive to them," he said.

It will join Pfizer and AstraZeneca as the third COVID-19 vaccine.

Over 70 percent of Australians have now had their first jab.

Almost 97 percent of aged care workers have had their first vaccine, Mr Hunt said.

About 800 aged care staff across the country have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr Hunt said the workers had put applied for exemptions, many of which related to medical conditions and their "personal circumstances".

He said Australian hospitals were "well prepared" to handle surges in COVID-19 cases as vaccination rates grow and states ease restrictions

"We have confidence in all of the states and territories," he said.

Meanwhile, Australia has the second-lowest per capita COVID-19 deaths out of 38 countries worldwide, according to the Department of Health's OECD comparative data, Mr Hunt said.

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A patient arrives to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a new drive-through vaccination clinic  in Sydney.

The data compared 38 OECD countries in 2021, with Australia ranking in the bottom two.

"The fact that we have achieved that outcome through borders, testing, tracing, distancing and vaccination is a tribute to all of our health professionals and the nation as a whole," Mr Hunt said.

Canada, Switzerland and Israel have had between 25 and 50 times the loss per capita of Australia.

While Sweden, Italy, Greece, the United States and the United Kingdom had between 50 and 90 times the per capita deaths in Australia.

Countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary had about 250 times the per capita loss of life in Australia.

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