Geraldton adults, children line up in droves to get Moderna COVID jab at pharmacies

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Premier Mark McGowan and Pharmacy 194 owner Paul Buise
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan and Pharmacy 194 owner Paul Buise

Geraldton has been going gangbusters for the Moderna COVID jab, with locals as young as 12 rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated.

A handful of local pharmacies received their first shipment of 300 Moderna doses on September 23 after the vaccine was approved for use in Australia on August 9.

Pharmacy 194 owner Paul Buise said the vaccine had been particularly popular with people aged 20 to 30.

“We have been flooded with phone calls and inquiries,” he said. “We fully booked out (last) week and we are booked out Tuesday, Wednesday and we are almost booked out Thursday.”

Mr Buise said many parents were bringing their children to get the jab, too.

“We have done quite a few teenagers and we are doing the parents at the same time if they haven’t already taken the opportunity to get vaccinated,” he said. “Kids are actually the easier ones … when parents have been telling them ‘we are going to get vaccinated for this (COVID) and protect ourselves’, most of the kids are on board with it. A lot of them have access to social media and hear the messaging, as well.”

Chemist Warehouse managing partner Mahmoud Elshwekh said his pharmacy administered more than 200 vaccinations in the vaccine’s first week.

“I was quite expecting only the younger would be interested and much of the elderly would have it already, but it has been a mix,” he said.

“Some of those people will end up having AstraZeneca, but having that peace of mind that they can choose, they are happy with that.”

Mr Elshwekh said he still had conversations with people over the age of 60 who were concerned about getting the AZ vaccine.

“They start having a chat with me about why they are a bit worried about AZ but once I talk with them, they are fine to have it,” he said.

“It’s about getting the right information from the right source, not Facebook.”

TerryWhite Chemmart Bluff Point pharmacist Matt Eshraghi said the uptake of Moderna had been much quicker than the AZ jab.

Mr Eshraghi said locals should not be alarmed if they get flu-like symptoms.

“When you are only experiencing a minute reaction to it — a bit of sickness for a couple of days — that is good because it is a sign that the immune system has reacted to it.”

Participating pharmacies can be found via the Australian Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.

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