Australian Healthcare workers tasked with administering COVID-19 vaccines will soon receive mandatory training.
The first vaccinations are expected to be rolled out within weeks.
With supplies at a premium, vaccine providers will be trained to minimise wastage from multi-dose vials.
The Pfizer vaccine has six doses per vial and the AstraZeneca option has 10.
All of the doses must be administered within hours of the vials being opened.
The vaccine workforce will receive training in using multi-dose vials, as well as handling and storing vaccines.
The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored below -60 degrees Celsius.
The federal government has partnered with the Australian College of Nursing to develop and deliver the free training program.
Nobody will be allowed to administer vaccines unless they have completed the course.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said the training was critical.
The World Health Organisation has estimated a wastage rate for vaccination doses of between 20 and 30 percent in some places.
“That’s already an unacceptably high number,” Khorshid told the ABC on Feb. 8.
“It’s really important that everything is done to minimise the wastage of these valuable vaccines.”
Australia will initially prioritise administering the Pfizer vaccine to quarantine workers, frontline staff, and aged and disability workers and residents.
The AstraZeneca option has not yet received the final tick of approval, but most Australians are expected to receive the vaccine in coming months.
South Africa has suspended use of AstraZeneca’s shot after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild to moderate illness caused by the country’s new strain of the virus.
However, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt is not concerned about the effectiveness of the jab.
“I spoke with the UK health secretary in recent days, they’re having very strong results,” Hunt told 2GB radio.
Australians will receive a certificate to prove they have been vaccinated when the national rollout beings.
All inoculations will be recorded on the Australian immunisation register.
Certificates proving vaccination, which could be required for overseas and interstate travel, would then be available either digitally or hard copy.
The register will record which vaccine people have received.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the government needed to get the passports right.
“We know that they didn’t get the tracing app right,” Albanese told reporters in Cairns.
“So they need to, as the rollout of the vaccine occurs, make sure that they absolutely get it right because our economy as well as our health depends on it.”
Daniel McCulloch in Canberra