The Covid-19 Vaccination Program will commence from next week and people in priority groups who are most at risk and who need protection the most – will receive a vaccine first.
The rollout will begin with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and following the approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Tuesday, will include the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from early March.
The initial priority groups include aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline healthcare workers, and quarantine and border workers.
Health Minister, Greg Hunt, reaffirmed that Australia’s vaccine strategy is strong and on schedule.
“Australia will begin rolling out the Covid-19 Vaccination program from next week,” Minister Hunt said.
“This week the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has arrived in the country and the TGA has approved the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. These are two outstanding vaccines that will be available to people in Australia free of charge.”
Frontline healthcare workers and quarantine and border workers will receive the vaccine through Pfizer hubs run by states and territories. In addition, a Commonwealth led in-reach vaccination workforce will ensure residential aged care and disability care residents and staff receive their vaccines.
Mr Hunt said the staged approach to the rollout would ensure those who need the most protection get it first.
“Our frontline border and quarantine workers, and people living and working in residential aged and disability care facilities will be the first to receive their vaccines,” says Mr Hunt said.
“The vaccination program will save and protect lives. Both of our vaccines will prevent serious illness. That is our primary goal.”
How it works
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has identified the following people as being eligible for vaccination under phase 1a of the rollout:
- Aged care and group disability care workers and residents, including:
- residents of aged care and people with disability living in disability residential accommodation.
- Quarantine and border workers, including:
- staff at entry points to the country (such as sea ports and land borders).
- staff working in quarantine facilities, including those employed under Commonwealth, state or private agreements, and
- Commonwealth employees (including Defence personnel) who are identified as having the potential to encounter returning travellers as part of their work.
- Frontline health workers (including clinical, medical students and administrative staff) most likely to be exposed to Covid-19 including;
- Frontline staff in facilities or services such as hospital emergency departments, Covid-19 and respiratory wards, Intensive Care Units and High-dependency Units.
- Laboratory staff handling potentially infectious material.
- Ambulance and paramedics service.
- GP respiratory clinics, and
- Covid-19 testing facilities.
- Other health workers will follow in phase 1b.
Thousands of aged care residents in Australia, at more than 240 facilities, will receive their first Covid-19 vaccine dose next week. The facilities are located across Australia in over 190 towns and suburbs in rural and urban areas in every state and territory:
|Australian Capital Territory|
|New South Wales||Alstonville|
|Northern Territory||Alice Springs|
States and territories will initially have 16 Pfizer vaccination hubs operational across Australia.
These first hubs will be at:
- Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (NSW).
- Westmead Hospital (NSW).
- Liverpool Hospital (NSW).
- Monash Medical Centre Clayton (VIC).
- Sunshine Hospital (VIC).
- Austin Health (VIC).
- University Hospital Geelong (VIC).
- Gold Coast University Hospital (QLD).
- Cairns Hospital (QLD).
- Princess Alexandra Hospital (QLD).
- Royal Adelaide Hospital (SA).
- Flinders Medical Centre (SA).
- Perth Children’s Hospital (WA).
- Royal Hobart Hospital (TAS).
- The Canberra Hospital (ACT).
- Royal Darwin Hospital (NT).
The remaining phases will be rolled out as the number of vaccines grows.
Vaccines will be available across additional settings including GP clinic and community pharmacy.
The staged rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is guided by Australia’s Covid-19 Vaccine National Rollout Strategy.