Monday, 22 February 2021
Yesterday marked the beginning of a huge win for Australia. 21 February 2021 was a truly historic day as the first COVID-19 vaccinations were rolled out in Australia. Last year the Prime Minister said that Australia would make its own way through the pandemic, and so it has. From acting early to close our international borders to hotspot regions around the globe to doing the responsible thing and waiting for our Therapeutic Goods Administration to approve vaccines before rolling them out, we have acted based on the evidence and we have done it our way—the Australian way. Despite the political opportunism and sniping from the other side of the House, when you look around the world the proof is there that our Australian response has been one of the most effective of any country.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is one of the biggest logistical exercises in Australia's history. It is being managed in a highly strategic, safe and effective way based on expert medical advice. The Australian government has secured more than 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Over 50 million of these will be manufactured in Melbourne, thanks to our sovereign vaccine manufacturing capacity through CSL. We are getting on with the job of getting a safe, effective and free vaccine to as many Australians as we can, starting with those who need it most. The first people to receive a vaccine will be priority groups who are at higher risk of COVID-19. They include quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, and aged and disability care residents and staff.
Yesterday 84-year-old World War II survivor Jane Malysiak was the first Aussie. This morning at about 7.30 Professor Rhonda Stuart, Monash Health medical director for infection prevention, became the first Victorian recipient of the vaccine. Professor Stuart and her team at Monash Health treated the first Australian case of COVID-19. After all their incredible work over the past 12 months it's fitting that these amazing people were among the first to be vaccinated. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Stuart and her team at Monash Health on behalf of the people of Chisholm. When the virus hit last year residents of Chisholm were among the first to raise the alarm. In acting to implement measures to slow the spread they were likely critical to Australia's success in combating COVID-19. I look forward with confidence to seeing Chisholm people coming forward to protect themselves and our community by getting the vaccine. I can't wait to see Chisholm's streets and shops return to their former glory when we have finally beaten this virus for good.
The TGA approved COVID vaccines are safe, are effective and will help protect you and your loved ones. As the Prime Minister demonstrated yesterday by getting the vaccine himself, he is not asking anyone to do anything that he is not prepared to do himself. The world's scientists have delivered the miracle of a vaccine, and our frontline health workers have worked incredibly hard, sacrificing so much to help slow the spread. Now, to protect ourselves and our loved ones, it's our responsibility to get vaccinated.