The first priority groups will be able to get the jab within weeks, says the PM.
The first priority groups will be able to get the jab within weeks, says the PM.

Vaccine will be fast, free and voluntary - for most, says PM

THE first Australians to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will receive their dose within weeks, while the majority of Australians are likely to get access towards the middle of the year.

Hotel quarantine workers, frontline health care workers, aged and disability care staff and residents will be the first priority group to get the Pfizer vaccine from mid-to-late February, pending approvals and logistics, while the majority of Australians are likely to get the AstraZeneca jab.

 

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned people they should be prepared to continue COVID-safe behaviour throughout 2021, including testing, tracing and isolating, as he outlined more details of the vaccine rollout.

The national cabinet will also meet today to discuss tougher international travel rules, from point of leaving the overseas airport to exiting hotel quarantine in Australia, including the use of masks in airports and during travel.

The Prime Minister said the vaccine was "not a silver bullet", but would be a strong tool in the pandemic control strategy.

"Once the vaccination process starts, COVID-safe practices do not end. They continue. COVID-safe practises will be a 2021 lived experience," he said.

Some workers may be “required” to be immunised against the deadly disease, though it will remain voluntary for most people.
Some workers may be “required” to be immunised against the deadly disease, though it will remain voluntary for most people.

He also indicated for the first time that some workers may be "required" to be immunised against the deadly disease, though it will remain voluntary for most people, but said those details would be determined with state governments.

The second wave of priority groups to be vaccinated will include almost 2 million Australians over 70, other health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 years old and other critical workers like police, fire and emergency services.

There will be 80,000 people vaccinated a week from when the rollout begins, ramping up until about 4 million people have received the jab by the end of March.

"They provide the first ring of containment and protection of the vulnerable and that's where our priority has to be," Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the rollout of the vaccine is not a silver bullet against COVID-19. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the rollout of the vaccine is not a silver bullet against COVID-19. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

The majority of Australians are likely to be able to get their dose from the middle of the year by heading to respiratory clinics, approved GP practices and other clinics set up by the state government.

There are likely to be at least six initial Pfizer vaccine hubs located in Queensland for the initial priority population rollout, including at the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

Most Australians will get the AstraZeneca vaccine from GP Respiratory Clinics, approved General Practices and state vaccination clinics.

The final locations of these clinics will be determined in discussion with the Queensland Government.

The vaccine will be free and delivered free, with GPs not to charge for administering the dose.

Mr Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt will be among the first Australians to be vaccinated, and do so on live television, to give the public confidence in the new vaccine.

Final approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Pfizer vaccine is expected later this month, while AstraZeneca's approval is likely to follow some time in February.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, who had been calling for the vaccine to be rolled out sooner than the previous estimated time of March, said there was never any reason for it to be delayed.

"It is good that the Government has seen common sense, even though it was saying that call was dangerous just a few days ago," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as PM: Vaccine will be fast, free and voluntary - for most


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