Pfizer vaccine arrive in Australia, rollout by 22 Feb

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Photo by CDC // Unsplash

The eagle has landed, announced Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt as he stepped to address the press to announce the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines that arrived in Australia today.

“They are currently being secured and the advice that I have is that 142,000 doses have arrived in Australia. They will now be subject to security, quality assurance, in particular, to ensure that temperature maintenance has been preserved throughout the course of the flight to ensure the integrity of the doses and to ensure that there has been no damage,” Hunt said.

He also said batch testing of some of the doses will be undertaken by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and based on the vaccine advisory committee will make sure that 62,000 doses are provisioned for second doses.

“So after all these process are completed, we will be releasing approximately 80,000 doses for the first vaccines to commence in Australia on Monday 22 February.” Hunt said, adding, “Approximately, 60 per cent of those doses will be allocated to the states.”

Hunt said the priority for the initial vaccine schedule is to administer the doses to people such as hotel quarantine workers, aged care residents and workers, and frontline healthcare workers. Further details on distribution would be made available later this week Hunt said.

“We are expecting that by the end of February, 60,000 of those doses would have been administered,” Hunt said.

The next step is to have AstraZeneca subject to a decision by the TGA in the near future, the minister said. “If there is a positive decision, shipping will occur and that should see a doubling of doses per week by early March. That means Phase 1 is on track for what is likely to be a six-week rollout for first doses.”

In addition to that, from late March the CSL AstraZeneca production will begin, Hunt said. “The first vials are being manufactured and filled today in the CSL Parkville plant. That advice has been provided to us and that is another important step.”

That will see a million doses a week commencing in late March.

There are five stages to the vaccine rollout
  • Phase one A commences with the elderly and disability care residents, their carers and staff. Also hotel quarantine, border force workers and frontline health workers.
  • Phase one B focusses on age-based approach – the over 80s, the over 70s, the immuno compromised, indigenous Australians over 55, certain critical workers.
  • Phase two A covers the over 60s, over 50s. After that other potential critical workers and indigenous Australians under 55 and over the age of 16.
  • Phase two B, is where the ballots will be for the general population.
  • Phase three will cover children, if recommended.

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