Get the vaccine when it's available: NSW

The best advice remains to get the COVID-19 jab when it's available, the NSW health minister says.
The best advice remains to get the COVID-19 jab when it's available, the NSW health minister says.

Just a day after NSW announced plans to drastically ramp up its AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, concerns have been raised about possible side effects.

With national cabinet due to meet on Friday, Australia's drug regulators are holding urgent meetings after European authorities confirmed a link between the AstraZeneca jab and blood clots.

"At the moment the advice still remains get the vaccine when it's available," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Thursday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had been happy to get the AstraZeneca vaccine and experienced only minor discomfort.

"Apart from a few days of a sore arm and some symptoms, I've not had any adverse reaction," she told reporters on Thursday.

"But I'm keen to hear what the medical experts have to say and and I'm one of thousands that have had the vaccine and not had anything adverse.

"Of course we need to rely on health experts and take their advice," she said.

NSW was ready to proceed with getting the vaccines out to the community en masse when supplies were available from the Commonwealth.

"Our ability to get 30,000 vaccinations done at Homebush alone every week depends on the supply of the vaccine ... (and) it depends on what advice the Commonwealth gives us on that," she said.

On Wednesday the premier announced plans to vaccinate 60,000 people a week through 100 pre-existing sites as well as at the new hub at Homebush.

However Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Trent Twomey said the plan to rollout mass vaccination sites was flawed because it excluded community pharmacies.

He noted pharmacies were already primed to provide vaccinations as part of Phase 2a starting in June.

There were nearly 6000 pharmacies across Australia, with 97 per cent of Australians living within 2.5km of one, he said.

"Community pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare provider nationally," he said.

"We're trained and experienced in providing vaccination. Last year we provided an estimated three million flu vaccinations.

"If we want to move to a rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccination, it makes sense that they use our national network of healthcare professionals," he said.

Australian Associated Press