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Pharmacies will soon take part in the COVID-19 vaccination program

PM says no rush on pharmacy role in vaccinations
Photo: No rush on pharmacy role in vaccinations
Pharmacies will slowly and steadily take part in the COVID-19 vaccination program, but only as supplies of vaccines grow, says the prime minister.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted supplies are not yet sufficient to bring large numbers of pharmacies into the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Mr Morrison met with state and territory leaders on Friday to discuss the vaccine rollout, which had its best-ever day on Thursday with 175,002 doses delivered nationally.

The government began making plans for pharmacies to voluntarily be involved in the rollout in January with an expression of interest scheme.

Some have been delivering vaccinations in rural and regional areas and parts of southwest Sydney to supplement the work of GPs.
But many health experts see the sector as crucial to reaching the goal of offering jabs to all Australians by the end of the year.

Mr Morrison said the government would be seeking "over the weeks ahead" to bring in more pharmacies to the metropolitan program "in a limited way at first".

"We will see pharmacists play an increasing role in the months ahead as the supply increases," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

"There is no point having more points of presence with a static amounts of supply - that just increases the logistical difficulty."

He urged Australians to seek opportunities to get vaccinated on weekends.

The comment came as the government received about a dozen proposals to make mRNA vaccines, such as those produced by Moderna and Pfizer, onshore in Australia.

CSL's vaccine business Seqiris and South Australia based firm BioCina have both expressed an interest.

Talks are also underway with Moderna.

It is hoped a facility could be operational within one to three years.

Industry Minister Christian Porter told AAP an expert advisory group would assist in considering the submissions.

Meanwhile, gambling company Tabcorp has floated the idea of a national vaccine lottery to encouraged the takeup of vaccinations.

"I'm open to all these incentives, whether it's lotteries or free airline tickets or Frequent Flyer points," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told 3AW.

The treasurer said many businesses had proposed incentives to drive vaccination rates during meetings with the government.

"People should get the jab because it's in their best health interests, it's in their families' best interests, it's in the nation's best health interests," Mr Frydenberg said.

Just under 13 per cent of Australians who are eligible to be vaccinated have received both jabs so far, with 9.6 million doses delivered.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the prime minister had bet too much on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which many Australians have baulked at following advice about potential side-effects.

"That was the lotto ticket that he held. He just bought one ticket. The truth is there aren't enough tickets," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

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