The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for use in Australia, and authorities will begin vaccination against COVID-19 in some of Australia’s most vulnerable populations in just a few weeks.
However, it is expected that it will take months more to vaccinate enough people to achieve an effective level of protection against the virus.
Here’s what you need to know about nationwide expansion, such as where you are in the queue:
When do you get vaccinated?
The Australian vaccination program will take place in five phases starting in late February.
The first phase of the rollout is targeted at Australians at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
This includes those dealing with Australians returning from abroad. Quarantine and border workers,and Priority frontline healthcare professionals -That is, those who may be exposed to infectious patients.
During the first rollout phase, Elderly and disabled care staff and residents..
The government estimates that about 678,000 people fall into this category.
Next are Australia’s other most vulnerable populations and more frontline workers.
It is included People over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 years old, And Young adults with underlying illness or disability.
General health care workers You will also have access to the vaccine at this point. The same is true for Australia’s “critical” and “high risk” workforce. Defense personnel, police officers, firefighters, first aid personnel And Meat processing worker..
The government estimates that more than 6.1 million people are eligible for vaccination at this stage.
It can take months before the jabs are available to the approximately 6.5 million people covered by this third phase.
At this stage Adults aged 50-69 And All other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over the age of 18 Get vaccinated.
Other “serious” and “high risk” workers The government has not yet specified which industries to include, but it will be included in this phase as well.
Fourth and largest group to be vaccinated The rest of Australia’s adult population..
The government estimates that an additional 6.6 million people will be included.
In Phase 2b, the government will also try to catch up with those who may have missed vaccinations in previous priority groups.
The last group in the coronavirus vaccine queue in Australia People under the age of 18 -Although they don’t necessarily get jabs.
The government says it will only vaccinate children if it suggests that medical advice is needed.
At Hunting Don Gardens’ home for the aged on the outskirts of Bexley in southern Sydney, staff and residents are excited to be the first Australian to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Resident Joan Miles, 92, survived polio as a young adult. She told SBS News that she wanted as many Australians as possible to join her for vaccination.
“I’ve seen diphtheria and polio, and I feel stupid if I don’t try to protect myself,” she said.
“As I’ve seen in the past, they clearly saw people being completely incompetent, unable to do what they were accustomed to, and making a living wanting to do it. I’ve never seen people die. “
Where do you get vaccinated?
this is When You get the vaccine.
Those in the first two priority groups will be vaccinated in up to 50 hospitals in Australia’s metropolitan areas and regions.
People who live or work in residential geriatric or disabled care facilities can also be vaccinated on-site.
After these first two steps are completed and the vaccine is available in the wider section of society, up to 1,000 more locations will be added to the list of vaccination sites.
This includes locations such as local general practitioner clinics, respiratory clinics, regional pharmacies, and Aboriginal medical services.
The Ministry of Health states that GP will be the “foundation” of vaccine delivery programs.
“Currently, common practices provide vaccines in a variety of ways and will do so in relation to their own practices and community needs for the COVID-19 vaccine,” a spokeswoman told SBS News. Told.
Which vaccine does Australia use?
Australia has signed up for three different vaccines.
The government has secured 10 million doses Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccines-These are all manufactured offshore. Australia has the option to purchase additional doses later until it becomes available.
Initially, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would arrive on land two weeks after it was approved.
However, due to supply shortages around the world, Morrison said Monday’s arrival is likely to approach the end of February.
The government also has access to 53.8 million doses. Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. After the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) approves the vaccine, approximately 3.8 million doses will be delivered to Australia, and an additional 50 million doses will be manufactured by CSL in self-soil in monthly batches.
Australia’s third vaccine manufactured by a US-based biotechnology company NovavaxIs still in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States and Mexico. If the study proves successful, Australian authorities expect to have access to 51 million doses this year.
Australia is also a member of the Global COVAX Facility Group, which grants government access to additional successful vaccine candidates.
How many sheets do you need?
All three vaccines signed for use by Australia require two doses at specific weekly intervals to ensure full benefit.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Novavax vaccines should be given at 3-week intervals.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine requires a four-week gap between doses, but the UK is experimenting with a longer gap to give the first dose to more people.
In the future, it is possible that US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson will also see a single-dose vaccine that is currently in the final stages of a one-shot jab trial. Results are expected in just a few weeks.
Why is Australia lagging behind in vaccine approval?
It was announced on Monday that TGA approved Australia’s first vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech Jab, about two months after its urgent approval in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Professor Mike Toole of the Burnet Institute said Australia has the luxury of being able to go through the approval process very thoroughly due to its low case rate.
“As a matter of course, [the rest of the world] We are deploying the vaccine very quickly. They can probably afford to take some risks, but not in Australia, “he told SBS News.
“Australia has the advantage of having very few cases now that the pandemic is occurring at this time, so we can look at other parts of the world and learn from their experience.”
The TGA states that it “actively monitors” the efficacy and safety of vaccines when they are first deployed in other countries.
Additional report by Amelia Dan.
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If you have a cold or flu symptoms, stay home and call your doctor to arrange a test or contact the 1800 020 080 Coronavirus Health Information Hotline. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.
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