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Landmark day in Australia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

Health Industry Hub | February 22, 2021 |
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Pharma News: Aged care residents, nurses and doctors, disabled support residents and hotel quarantine workers, were among the first Australians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine yesterday in New South Wales.

They were joined by personnel from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force alongside Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and the Prime Minister in getting vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccination program was officially launched on 21 February 2021 ahead of the formal national rollout across Australia today Monday 22 February.

Aged care resident Jane Malysiak, 84, from Marayong New South Wales, was the first person in Australia to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a landmark day in Australia’s comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have always made our own Australian way through this pandemic and have done so with considerable success compared with so many other countries around the world,” the Prime Minister said.

“This vaccination program launches us down our path out of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Every Australian will be given the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge that has been proven to be safe and effective by our own medical experts.

“As we rollout the COVID-19 vaccines across the country, we will be asking as many Australians as possible to come forward to be vaccinated, to protect themselves, their families and their communities from this highly infectious disease.”

Anne Harris, Pfizer Australia & New Zealand Managing Director, said “The first Australian receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. This is a momentous day for Australians, for science, and a proud day for Pfizer. 

“Pfizer is honoured to bring  the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, COMIRNATY, to Australians, which we hope will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic. 

“Pfizer has a 99.9% success rate in getting thermal shippers containing our COVID-19 vaccine to their destination within the required temperate of (minus) -70 degrees Celsius. Pfizer has already delivered more than 80 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to 60 countries in the Middle East, UK, Latin America, North America and Asia.

“Pfizer is on track to deliver 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Australia over the course of 2021, which will vaccinate 10 million citizens,” she added. 

The Australian Government’s plan is to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians by the end of October 2021. Quarantine and border workers and aged care residents are on track to be vaccinated by April 2021.

A recent analysis from The Australian National University (ANU) found that that 59% of Australians said that they will definitely get the vaccine, a further 29% were likely to get the vaccine but are not certain, 7% will probably not get the vaccine (high levels of hesitancy) and 6% will definitely not get the vaccine (resistant). 

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said “Vaccines are being prioritised so those most at risk, and those most vulnerable, can get access first.”

“Today we have released a simple eligibility checker. It lets you answer a few questions and find out the phase in which you’ll be able to access vaccines. You can find it at australia.gov.au,” Minister Hunt said.

Under the Australian Vaccination Strategy the COVID-19 Vaccine rollout begins with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and will include the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from March 2021. 

The Australian Government has secured more than 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Over 50 million doses of AstraZeneca ordered by the Government will be manufactured at CSL in Melbourne.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered through specific hubs and hospital vaccination clinics in each state and territory, and in aged care and disability care facilities across the country. The number of hospital-based vaccination clinics will increase as more doses of our approved vaccines arrive in Australia.

Vaccination teams will go into aged care facilities – 240 of them across 190 locations nationally this week – to deliver the vaccines on-site.

People will initially get the AstraZeneca vaccine at GP respiratory clinics, general practices that meet specific requirements, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and state-run vaccination clinics.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines require two separate doses for a person to be fully immunised – Pfizer/BioNTech 21 days apart, and AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart.


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