Thursday, 25 February 2021
I'm so pleased that, as I speak, Australia's COVID vaccine rollout is now in full swing. This is the single largest health and logistical effort in our nation's history, and I commend all the dedicated men and women who've got us to where we are today. It's been a remarkable effort.
I want to assure everyone in my electorate of Capricornia that a dose of the vaccine will be available to anyone who wishes to take it and that they won't have to travel to get it. I'm thrilled that the Morrison government has secured more than 150 million COVID vaccine doses, with over 50 million doses of AstraZeneca ordered, which will be manufactured in Melbourne. As we embark on this phase of the vaccine rollout, we will ensure that our fellow Australians within the priority groups who are most at risk of the virus will receive a vaccine first.
In the first week of this initial rollout, about 80,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are being released, and approximately 50,000 vaccines will be available for the states and territories to give to hotel quarantine workers, border workers and frontline healthcare workers. Importantly, 30,000 vaccines will also go to our aged-care and disability care residents.
What I've just outlined is just in the first week, in the first phase, of our national vaccine rollout. Under the Morrison government's plan, quarantine workers, border residents and aged-care residents are all on track to be vaccinated by April. Our government will follow the expert medical advice that underpins this vaccine rollout. Every Australian can have full and absolute confidence that the vaccines have been subject to extensive assessment by the TGA, because, after all, here in Australia we have the best health system, the best health standards and the best health professionals in the world. I'll certainly be rolling up my sleeve when it's my turn to get a COVID shot. As the Prime Minister demonstrated when he got his, he is not asking anyone to do something that he is not prepared to do himself. In further developments I also wanted to mention that the Department of Health has approved over 4,600 general practices to participate in the rollout across the country. They have stepped up in huge numbers.
When it comes to the fight against COVID-19, Australians have so much to be proud of. Currently, there are less than 50 active cases, in a nation of more than 25 million people. It has been extraordinary so far. But the fight isn't over yet. We need to continue to stick together. We need to continue to follow the expert medical advice. The next crucial step is to get the COVID vaccination. The vaccine is safe, it is effective, it will protect people and it will protect your loved ones.