Health Minister Greg Hunt says the country is off to a flying start as 173,000 Australians have already received a COVID vaccine booster shot before the formal commencement of the federal government’s program.

It comes as the federal government’s national COVID vaccine booster program formally commenced today – anyone who has been fully vaccinated for at least six months is eligible for a Pfizer booster shot at a pharmacy.

The program has been running for about a week to mostly nursing homes and immuno-compromised individuals – where a booster shot is seen as more of a necessity.

“We have general practices, we have state clinics, we have commonwealth vaccination clinics, Indigenous medical clinics, and we have aged care and disability all being done – pharmacies are playing a critical role,” Mr Hunt told Sky News Australia.

“We’re off to a flying start – the program only begins today, but already 173,000 people have had boosters.”

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