Illawarra pharmacies will expand their COVID-19 vaccination services when the first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrive in the region this week.
Pharmacy 777 in Albion Park is among those awaiting their allocation of the new vaccine, which is the third to be made available in Australia.
Pharmacist Greg Cadorin said the store would receive 200 Moderna doses in its first batch but as of Friday, already had 350 people on the waiting list.
As such, Mr Cadorin said he expected the first lot of appointments would be booked out within 15 minutes when made available, but he had made contact with the Pharmacy Guild to make representations for more doses.
He said that while the ongoing COVID outbreak had pushed more people to get vaccinated and take up the AstraZeneca option, there were still people with concerns about its side effects who were waiting to receive the Moderna vaccine instead.
Having 12 to 15-year-olds eligible for Moderna, Mr Cadorin said, also added to the demand for the new shot.
Australia's first shipment of the vaccine arrived in Australia on Friday night.
The Moderna vaccine will be made available to those aged 12 to 59 through pharmacies, and will require two doses, usually given four to six weeks apart.
Like the Pfizer shot, it is a mRNA vaccine that uses a genetic code to trigger production of the coronavirus' spike protein in the body, which in turn makes immune cells develop an immune response to it.
Pharmacies will continue to deliver the AstraZeneca shot, as will state-run hubs such as the Illawarra Shoalhaven Mass Vaccination Centre in Wollongong's Crown Street Mall.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is available for people aged 18 and over, including those aged 60 and above.
The Pfizer vaccine remains available through these clinics, as well as from GPs; like the Moderna shot, it is prioritised for those aged 12 to 59.
Data sourced from the Commonwealth health department shows more than 71 per cent of Wollongong residents aged 15 and over have received at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine, while 45.5 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
Shellharbour is sitting at a fully vaccinated rate of almost 44 per cent, while more than 73 per cent of its residents have had one dose.
But Kiama boasts the highest vaccination rate in the region, with 55.4 per cent of people 15 and over having received both doses, and over 80 per cent having had at least one shot.
Across NSW, 81.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over have now had at least their first dose of the vaccine while 51.9 per cent have had both shots.