Thursday, 18 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Colbeck. Can the minister update the Senate on the latest developments in the plan to roll out the COVID vaccine, which has a priority focus on Australians most at risk from this crippling virus, including in our home state of Tasmania?
Thank you, Senator Abetz, for your question. Rolling out the COVID vaccine across Australia is one of the government's highest priorities. The country is on track for the first and most vulnerable of Australians to start receiving the vaccine from Monday. Senator Abetz, I'm pleased to inform the Senate that there are 16 Pfizer vaccination hubs across Australia, including in our home state at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Thousands of aged-care residents in Australia at more than 240 facilities will receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose next week. The facilities are located across Australia in over 190 towns and suburbs, in rural and urban areas and in every state and territory. Next week, in our home state of Tasmania, rollout of the vaccines will occur in aged-care facilities in Burnie, Lugana, Newnham, Newstead, Norwood, Penguin, Riverside, Somerset, St Leonards, Ulverstone and Wynyard.
Of the 142,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine which arrived into the country this week, approximately 80,000 doses will be released next week. Approximately 30,000 vaccines will be made available for the Commonwealth vaccine in-reach workforce to aged-care and disability care residents. Information has been sent out to aged-care facilities for residents, their families, carers and loved ones about what to expect in the lead-up to, and on, vaccination day. The Department of Health had sent a readiness toolkit to aged-care facilities, including clinical requirements and a checklist for vaccination day.
Thank you, Senator Abetz. We are investing $31 million on a public information campaign to keep Australians up to date about the COVID-19 vaccines, as they become available, and when, how and where to get the jab. As part of our public information campaign we're investing an additional $1.3 million for peak multicultural organisations, to help reach culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The campaign will run across a number of channels, including regular website updates, social media, health professionals, local community and grassroots organisations, networks and the mainstream media. It will include advertising in 32 languages across radio, print and social media, extending to communities that are harder to reach through traditional channels. Our message— (Time expired)
Thank you, Senator Abetz. With our economic recovery well underway, Australians can have cause for optimism and hope as we emerge from COVID. Vaccinating Australians against this virus will go a long way to rebuilding confidence in the Australian economy. While we'll always be guided by the best in medical advice from our experts, we know that reducing the risk of COVID through vaccination will result in Australians moving more freely back to work, back to retail and back to supporting our domestic tourism and hospitality sectors.
Our nation has outperformed all major advanced nations, with a larger proportion of Australians who were in the workforce before this crisis in work today. This is due to support programs we put in place, which were only possible because we entered this crisis, 12 months ago, in a position of economic strength.