Who will be first in line?
Australia’s first COVID-19 vaccinations have already started to be rolled out but, unless you are on the government’s priority list, you are going to have to wait a bit longer for the jab.
Australians will either be administered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, of which the government has secured 53.8 million doses, or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, of which the government has secured 10 million doses.
Vaccinating against COVID-19 is the easiest way for Australians to get their normal lives back, but millions are hesitant to get the jab.
News.com.au’s Our Best Shot campaign answers your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine roll out.
We’ll debunk myths about vaccines, answer your concerns about the jab and tell you when you can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Due to the Government securing significantly more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and having the ability to produce it locally, this will be the candidate that most Australians will receive.
The Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) has now approved both vaccine candidates for use in Australia.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate 80,000 people each week as the first doses are rolled out and to slowly build that number over the following weeks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes that by the end of March four million Australians will be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Due to the early approval of the Pfizer vaccine, this is the jab the first groups on the Government’s priority list will receive.
Under the rollout plan, quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, aged care and disability care staff and aged care and disability care residents will be the first groups to be vaccinated against coronavirus in Australia.
Because the Pfizer vaccine must be stored in below freezing temperatures, the Government will establish 30-50 Hospital Hubs that will store and administer the jab to priority groups.
In NSW, the first Pfizer hubs will be set up at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Westmead Hospital and Liverpool Hospital.
In Victoria, they will be located at Monash Medical Centre Clayton, Sunshine Hospital, Austin Health and the University Hospital Geelong.
People in Queensland will need to head to either the Gold Coast University Hospital, Cairns Hospital or the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
In South Australia, hubs will be located at Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre. Western Australia will have a Pfizer hub at Perth Children’s Hospital.
Tasmania’s hub will be at the Royal Hobart Hospital, the Australian Capital Territory will have one at The Canberra Hospital and the Northern Territory will have a Pfizer hub at the Royal Darwin Hospital.
The number of Pfizer hubs will increase as more doses arrive in Australia.
Aged care residents will also have access to the vaccine through their facilities, with 240 facilities in more than 190 towns and suburbs to administer vaccines for this priority group.
About 678,000 people across the country will be vaccinated as part of Phase 1a of the plan.
The Government has created a map showing where hubs will be set up to administer the vaccines and what groups each location might cater to.
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said people at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 are the Government’s first priority.
“That is the people that are working at our borders; the people working at our quarantine hotels; the nurses and other health professionals that are working in those settings; the cleaners; the transport workers that are transporting people to our quarantine hotels,” he said earlier this month.
“They are the ones that are at highest risk of exposure so we need to get that vaccination out to them quickly. Same with our healthcare workers that are working at our hospitals and other frontline areas.”
The next group to receive the jab as part of Phase 1b of the rollout will be made up of 6,139,000 people and will include:
• Adults aged 80 years and over
• Adults aged 70-79
• Other health care workers
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people aged 55 and over
• Younger adults with underlying medical conditions, including those with a disability
• Critical and high-risk workers including defence personnel, police, fire and rescue workers, emergency service staff and meat processing workers.
Up to 14.8 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be administered during this phase of the rollout.
The next stage of the rollout, Phase 2a, will include adults aged 60-69, adults aged 50-59, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people aged 18-54 and other critical and high risk workers.
Up to 15.8 million doses of the vaccine will be administered to 6,570,000 people during this phase.
After this stage is complete Phase 2b will then kick off, which is where the majority of Australians will have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Up to 16 million doses of the vaccine will be made available to the rest of the adult population that weren’t included in the previous phases, about 6,643,000 people.
The final phase, Phase 3, could then see doses of the vaccine offered to people aged under 16 who didn’t meet the criteria for the other stages.
However, this phase will only be rolled out if it is recommended by health authorities later down the track.
Australia’s health department chief Professor Brendan Murphy explained this was because children weren’t as susceptible to the virus as other groups.
“We will go on to cover the rest of the general population and the very last group that we might consider is children,” he said.
“We know children are at the lowest risk of getting COVID and transmitting COVID and the vaccines currently haven’t been properly tested in children and that will be the last group that we’ll consider in the fifth phase.”