Australians will begin rolling up their sleeves to receive the coronavirus vaccine for the first time in a matter of days.
The first frontline workers, aged care and disability care workers and residents will get the jab on Monday.
More than half-a-million doses will be rolled out in the first phase of the program before it’s ramped up exponentially.
The end goal, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says, is to have everybody who wants a jab vaccinated by October.
To reach that goal, Australians have been divided into five major priority groups, each with six sub-groups.
Phase 1a commences Monday, February 22.
Up to 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers and aged care and disability care residents and workers.
There are about 678,000 people included in this phase.
Phase 1b will incorporate up to 14.8 million doses – and many of these will be the AstraZeneca jab which will continue to be rolled out as the phases progress.
Elderly adults aged 80 years and over, elderly adults aged 70-79 years, other healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55, younger adults with an underlying medical condition and critical and high-risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing personnel are included in Phase 1b.
More than 6.1 million Australians are included in this phase.
Phase 2a will comprise of up to 15.8 million doses.
It will be offered to adults aged 60-69 years, adults aged 50-59 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54 and other critical and high-risk workers.
More than 6.5 million Australians will be included in this phase.
Phase 2b includes up to 16 million doses.
It is then the vaccine will be offered to the rest of the adult population.
Another 6.6 million Australians are included in this phase.
Phase 3 is up to 13.6 million doses and will be offered to people under 16 years old if it is recommended by the TGA.
Around 5.67 million people are included in this phase.
Hubs at major hospitals will also be ground zero for the Pfizer drug, which is the first cab off the rank.
As the program expands, the extensive network of general practices and pharmacies will join the effort.
“This is the largest mass immunisation program we’ve ever had in Australia,” Professor Kidd said.
“But Australia, of course, has been doing incredibly well at so many levels throughout this pandemic and we do expect to be able to roll out the vaccine.”
He said Australia would be “up there” with nations like the UK and the US in achieving fast vaccine rollouts.
– with AAP
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