Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Van for his question. We're now into week 4 of the mass vaccine rollout across Australia and we are prioritising the most vulnerable in society, as we should, to receive the vaccine first. Each week, more aged-care residents, border and quarantine and frontline health workers have had the opportunity to receive their first dose of the vaccine. This week we also saw the start of the second-dose round being administered, so we are now in the position to start to have citizens fully immunised against the COVID-19 virus. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the AstraZeneca vaccine require two doses for people to be fully immunised, the Pfizer vaccine 21 days apart and the AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart. Senator Van, I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that vaccinations are gathering pace in your home state of Victoria. So far more than 38,900 people in Victoria have had a jab against COVID.
Next week we'll begin phase 1b of our vaccination program, which includes vulnerable groups, including older people and people with underlying medical conditions. We are enlisting general practices across the country to play a major role in the vaccination rollout and have been heartened by the enthusiasm of GPs to get on board our vaccination program, with 1,100 commencing next week. We thank all Australians, including our frontline workers and GPs, for their commitment and hard work in rolling out the vaccinations in this country. We are getting on with delivering the vaccine and it will underpin our health and economic recovery.
As I said earlier today, more than 203,500 Australians have been vaccinated as a part of our vaccination rollout so far, including more than 45,000 aged-care residents in over 500 aged-care facilities. Indeed, we've been progressively ramping up our rollout in aged-care homes, and today residents of 26 facilities across the country will receive vaccinations. Healthcare teams will also be visiting 35 aged-care facilities for the second time to deliver second doses to our most vulnerable citizens. In coming weeks the vaccination program will reach more than 2½ thousand residential aged-care facilities, and more than 183,000 residents will be vaccinated, including 339,000 staff.
More than 1,100 general practices will join the COVID vaccination program from next week. GP services will progressively come online from 22 March, which is what we said would happen when we announced the vaccination rollout program. By the end of April we'll have more than 4,000 GP services assisting us with the vaccination program. This staged scale-up will align with the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine, and as more vaccine becomes available more services will come online. There are six million people in the second phase of the vaccine rollout, and I want to assure Australians that everyone who wants a vaccine will get one. But I would also urge them to be patient. As the vaccine becomes available, we will make it available to Australians.