28 May 2021
Pfizer vaccine arrives in South West
Please attribute the following to South West Hospital and Health Service COVID Vaccination
Coordinator Ms Robyn Brumpton.
A special freezer to store Pfizer vaccines at the required ultra-low temperature of minus 70
degrees centigrade has been installed at Roma Hospital.
As a result, we have been able to start offering the Pfizer vaccine to eligible people in the South
West from this week.
We are offering the vaccine in Roma initially and then will begin delivering to other communities
throughout the South West progressively, using Roma Hospital as the hub.
The vaccines will be thawed out for use at Roma and then despatched to our vaccination teams
in refrigerated containers.
While initially delivered and then stored at a minus 70-degree temperature – new guidelines
from the Therapeutic Goods Administration advise that the Pfizer vaccine is stable enough to
store for up to 31 days in a normal temperature fridge after being thawed.
This flexibility in storage temperature is more than sufficient to allow us to thaw the vaccine at
the central hub in Roma, distribute it to our other communities and complete the vaccination
program in those communities.
Initially, we will be offering the Pfizer vaccine to 1a and 1b frontline and non-frontline health and
emergency services personnel across the South West who have not already been vaccinated
through the AstraZeneca program.
We will then begin offering it to the 1b vulnerable population under 50 and then the whole
eligible population under 50 progressively.
As with AstraZeneca, everyone receiving Pfizer will need two doses, about three weeks apart.
Under the current national guidelines, the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for all people
aged 50 years and over, while Pfizer is recommended for those aged under 50 who have not
already had a COVID vaccination.
Anyone aged 50 years and over will continue to be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as
everyone who has already had a first dose of AstraZeneca.
We will advise our various communities as the Pfizer vaccine begins to be rolled out in their
areas. In tandem with the Pfizer vaccine rollout for those who have not yet been vaccinated, next week
we will also begin delivering the second dose of AstraZeneca to people who have had their first
The second dose rollout will begin in Roma initially and then move progressively to other
communities as with the first round of vaccinations.
Those who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered AstraZeneca for their
We will advise our various communities as the second dose of AstraZeneca begins to be rolled
out in their areas over the coming weeks.
As we are now in the influenza season, I would like to remind South West residents that you
need to have a two-week gap between having the COVAX and the FLUVAX, or vice versa, so
please keep that in mind when arranging your vaccinations.
I would like to encourage everyone in the South West to have their COVAX when it becomes
available in their community.
Although we have not recorded any cases of COVID–19 in the South West, it is false security to
believe this will continue to be the case.
As the unfolding situation in Victoria is showing, there is no room for complacency, and
everyone should be vaccinated as soon as they can do so, whether through your GP or through
one of our vaccination clinics as they progress through the region.
It should be noted that COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public in the South West are also
being delivered by private GPs and this is being managed by the Commonwealth.
Please visit the Commonwealth Government’s eligibility website to find a GP near you that has
been accredited to deliver the vaccine and to make a booking.
If you want to book a COVID vaccination through the health service, please call
4621 2699, or contact your local health facility.
Check if you are eligible and can book a COVID vaccination at a GP near you:
More information on the vaccine is available
You can also call 134 COVID (134 268) and visit:
With the new Pfizer freezer at Roma Hospital are – from left – COVID–19 Vaccination Clinic
Clinical Nurse Consultant Michelle Rathjen, Director of Pharmacy Shaun Hamwood and South
West Hospital and Health Service COVID Vaccination Coordinator Robyn Brumpton.
Natalie Thomas receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from nurse immuniser Megan Orr.
28 May 2021