Scott Morrison Fast Tracks Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout With First Jabs Coming Next Month
Australia's Prime Minister has fast tracked the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the country.
The first jabs were due to be given in March, however Scott Morrison expects that to be mid-to-late February now.
The country's leader hopes to get Pfizer's efficacy data sometime this month and is confident we will soon be able to begin vaccinating Australians.
Mr Morrison reckons they'll be able to vaccinate up to 80,000 people every week.
"It is moving considerably faster than normal vaccination processes would occur in Australia - but without cutting corners, ensuring that everything is ticked that needs to be ticked along the way," he said during a press conference.
"We believe we will be able to commence vaccinations of high-priority workers in mid- to late-February."
The Prime Minister has revealed a five-tier system that will dictate who will get the vaccine first and who will be last.
Here is how the vaccination rollout will work:
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- Phase 1a - up to 1.4m doses: Quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, aged care and disability care staff and residents;
- Phase 1b - up to 14.8m doses: Elderly adults aged over 70, other healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 55, younger adults with underlying medical conditions, including a disability, high-risk workers including police, fire, defence, emergency services and meat processing;
- Phase 2a- up to 15.8m doses: Adults aged over 50, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 18, other critical and high-risk workers;
- Phase 2b- up to 16m doses: Balance of adult population, catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases;
- Phase 3 - up to 16m doses: Children aged under 18, if recommended.
Secretary of the federal Health Department, Professor Brendan Murphy, said there will be 30 to 50 hubs set up around Australia that will dish out the first vaccine.
Once the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in Australia, the vaccination rate is expected to skyrocket.
"That will enable a rapid rollout. We will expand that to a significantly broader range of the at-risk population," he said.
There will be up to 1,000 hubs set up then to allow more people to get the jab. The locations of those hubs will be determined when the states and territories and the Commonwealth come to an agreement.
Mr Morrison warned the vaccine won't be the 'silver bullet' in eliminating the coronavirus, however it will help Australia move on from the pandemic.
"We have been dealing with this pandemic in a very Australian way - Australia has been making its own way through this," he said.
"It's a terrible tragedy that there are countries in the world today who are seeing daily death rates that are higher than Australia's death toll in the past year."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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