Thursday, 25 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Health and Aged Care. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's rollout of safe, effective and free vaccines is underpinning our health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I want to thank the member for Boothby, not only for her question but also for her cross-party work on the Stillbirth National Action Plan, in particular with Senator Bilyk, to whom we extend our best wishes and the thoughts of all in this House.
We know that the pandemic continues abroad, with 11,000 lives lost in the last 24 hours; zero at home here in Australia. Another day of zero cases of community transmission Australia-wide. It is an extraordinary outcome. We've had 28 days this year so far of zero community transmission at a time when there have been over 430,000 cases in the last 24 hours. The pandemic rages across the world. Australia remains an island sanctuary thanks to the work of all Australians across the nation. The international border controls and the declaration today by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer of a hotspot with regard to Auckland is another part of that. So too is the work in terms of testing, with almost 50,000 tests in the last 24 hours; tracing, which continues to strengthen as there is continuous work in strengthening tracing around the country; and distancing, which even this parliament on this day continues to practice and show as a national example of that continued engagement.
Then of course there is the work with regard to containment. We are seeing very heartening results on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines from around the world. Public Health Scotland has been able to indicate very high levels of protection against serious illness, hospitalisation and loss of life from both of the vaccines that they have been putting in place, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca results in fact are slightly stronger than results for the Pfizer vaccine. I think that's an important message to some in Australia who have taken a contrary view to that which has been put out by the Australian Academy of Science, the World Health Organization or TheLancet journal, which underlines that importance.
At the same time, during the course of this week, the rollout has commenced. We've gone from just over 1,600 doses on the first day to just over 6,000 doses on the second day to almost 10,000 doses on the third day. By midday tomorrow we will have today's figures, and what we are seeing is that they are increasing each and every day. Each and every day, we see more and more people. We are seeing Australian health professionals doing an extraordinary job, and we want to thank them for their work. We want to thank all of those who are involved. We want to say to Australians that whilst we are doing well, the next phase has commenced, and that will provide safety and protection for Australians. (Time expired)