House debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

2:40 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's commitment to our primary care sector is supporting Australia's COVID-19 vaccination rollout?

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Wentworth, in particular for supporting his GPs and pharmacists during the course of COVID-19. They have supported Australians magnificently, along with our pathologists and our aged-care workers—all of those associated with primary care right around the country. They have helped to deliver another day of zero cases of community transmission. That's the 53rd day for this year. Sixty-three per cent of days over the course of 2021 have seen no cases in Australia within the community and, extraordinarily, no lives lost. And yet we know, at the same time around the world, in the last 24 hours there were 578,000 cases with, extraordinarily, 9,700 lives lost. These are astronomical figures, compared to the zero cases in Australia and the zero lives lost in the course of 2021.

We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our primary carers. This week phase 1B has started. We've seen over 1,000 primary carers, through our GPs, in the field. As I mentioned earlier, we've seen a rapid acceleration in the doses being delivered. We've seen our over-eighties, our over-seventies, our Indigenous Australians over 55, those with chronic health conditions and our general health workers being supported. All of these things are about saving lives and protecting lives here in Australia. This number will build. It will build to over 4,000 primary practices over the course of the coming months. In particular, it's also seeing the support for our aged-care residents. We now have over 71,000 aged-care residents that have been vaccinated, with 708 aged-care residential facilities that have had first doses and 130 aged-care facilities that have now had second doses. Our most frail Australians are being protected, and, progressively, so are more and more Australians. It's about saving lives and protecting lives. It's about the work of our primary carers. It will expand in phase 2 to our pharmacists. We see that this is providing the confidence around the country, which sees that no borders are closed from any state to any other state at the moment. We're seeing the ability, when there were outbreaks in Queensland and New South Wales, for states to remain open. These programs are coming together—the economic and the health—saving lives, protecting lives and protecting livelihoods, because of the incredible work of our primary carers.