Moderna COVID-19 vaccines now readily available in pharmacies

A number of pharmacies across Victoria are now offering Moderna vaccines to anyone aged 12 to 59, as well as AstraZeneca to anyone over 18.

In the City of Whittlesea, among the first to open appointments are: Whittlesea Amcal Pharmacy, Chemist Discount Centre Laurimar, Chemist Warehouse Mernda Junction, Terry White Chemmart South Morang, Chemist Warehouse Westfield Plenty Valley and Greenbrook Pharmacy in Epping.

The rollout in the municipality is in response to low vaccination rates and rising case numbers. There are currently 893 active cases in the City of Whittlesea, up by 88 today. Mitchell Shire recorded two new cases, and Macedon Ranges Shire recorded four.

The first shipments of one million Moderna doses arrived last weekend, with more expected in the coming weeks.

It is an mRNA vaccine that works similarly to the Pfizer vaccine.

Messenger-RNA vaccines use ribonucleic acid, RNA, a messenger between DNA and protein synthesis through complexes known as ribosomes, to spark the production of the coronavirus’ specific spike protein.

Once the mRNA enters the body’s cells, the cells use the instructions contained in the RNA to make the spike protein. Immune cells then recognise the spike protein as foreign and begin building an immune response against it. RNA from the vaccine does not change or interact with DNA in any way. 

While it is still possible to be infected and transmit the virus if you are fully vaccinated, the health effects and symptoms will be greatly reduced.

All vaccines available in Australia are more than 90 per cent effective against hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.

Terry White chief pharmacist Brenton Hart said the announcement of Moderna vaccines was exciting and a new tool for nurses and pharmacists administering the vaccines statewide.

“This safe and effective vaccine joins that other safe and effective vaccine, AstraZeneca, which is also available in our pharmacies to provide a vaccine solution for all Australian families,” he said.

“[We] have plenty of appointments available and it is so easy to book online, and I can assure you at Terry White Chemmart you will receive a safe and professional vaccination experience. So what are you waiting for?

“Let’s all work together towards hugging our extended families again and celebrating with our friends this Christmas.”

To find your nearest pharmacy offering COVID-19 vaccines, visit bit.ly/39nVA02. To book at a state vaccination hub go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/book-your-vaccine-appointment.

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