CANBERRA, Australia — Businesses have been given the green light to offer rewards to people who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 in Australia.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved arrangements that will be in place until the end of 2022.
Health professionals, businesses, and media outlets will be able to develop their own materials about TGA-approved Covid-19 vaccines.
“They also permit the offer of a range of rewards to people who have been fully vaccinated under the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program,” the regulator said.
“Businesses can now supplement government public health campaigns through offers of practical support (including rewards) that encourage Australians to be vaccinated.”
Under the new arrangements, organizations can generate their own informational materials to support Covid-19 vaccination, provided the content is consistent with government messaging.
However, the messaging must not refer to specific vaccines, promote non-approved vaccines, or make false or misleading statements.
The rewards could include store vouchers, discounts, or frequent flyer points but cannot include alcohol, tobacco, or medicines other than listed medicines.
But any offer of a reward cannot be restricted to only those who have a vaccination after the reward has been announced.
They must be made available to those who have already received their first or second doses.
It is up to the business or organization to provide the rewards to determine whether they are to be exclusively made available to their employees, or alternatively only members of a scheme (such as an automobile association or frequent flyer scheme) or to all Australians.
While the national vaccine rollout has ticked over the five million marks, the Therapeutic Goods Administration is assessing material from Pfizer about extending the jabs to 12- to 16-year-olds.
The Northern Territory is set to be the first jurisdiction in Australia to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all residents aged 16 years and over.
Meanwhile, questions have been raised about states stockpiling doses as demand surges.
The latest figures showed dose utilization ranged from 65 percent in the Northern Territory to 100 percent in the Australian Capital Territory.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly claimed that there was no need for states to stockpile, as the federal government kept enough supply for second doses.
Vaccine operations coordinator Commodore Eric Young said there was no evidence of deliberate state stockpiling, only that some were holding on to supplies for “a raft of reasons.”
Pharmacists are pushing to be part of the rollout, saying it could be done faster with their involvement.
Melbourne is set to emerge from two weeks of lockdown on the night of June 10, with Victoria recording 11 new coronavirus infections on June 7 — all close contacts of existing cases or people in quarantine.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Pallavi Mehra)
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