There have been many government and media updates on the COVID-19 vaccine recently but here is what you need to know for now. We will continue to keep you updated on significant developments.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A vaccine is expected to be available in Australia from early 2021, with current indications suggesting mid-to-late-February. The aim of the Australian Government is to have as many people vaccinated as possible in 2021.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the first groups to receive the vaccine will be workers dealing with international arrivals, quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, aged care and disability workers and those people living in aged care or disability care.
When can the rest of the population expect to get the coronavirus vaccine?
The Australian Health Department has outlined a five-tier priority list for rolling out the vaccination.
What coronavirus vaccines will be available to me in Australia?
Currently the Australian Health Department is planning to use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the AstraZeneca (University of Oxford) vaccine.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly says the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will likely be approved first, with 10 million doses being distributed to people who fall under the Phase 1 priority tier. Most Australians however will end up receiving the Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine.
Is the vaccine free?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available free to those who wish to be vaccinated.
Do I have to be vaccinated?
No, there are no mandatory vaccines in Australia. While the Australian Government supports and encourages immunisation, it is not mandatory and people maintain the option to choose not to vaccinate.
How can I get the vaccine?
The Australian Government is currently consulting with the state and territory governments and medical experts on how to safely and effectively distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. Key vaccination sites will likely initially include GP clinics, GP respiratory clinics, state and territory vaccination sites and workplaces such as aged care facilities.
Are the vaccines safe?
All vaccines must pass different stages of research trials to prove they are safe and effective. Before vaccines are approved for use in Australia, they must pass the rigorous assessment and approval processes of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This includes assessment of its safety, quality and effectiveness. The TGA is monitoring COVID-19 vaccine development that is occurring both in Australia and around the world.
How to stay COVID-safe.
At this time – whether you are in a priority group or not – the best thing you can do is continue to be COVID-Safe and stay up to date with the latest information and advice. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cautioned that everyone will need to practise COVID-safe behaviour for a long time, possibly throughout 2021 and beyond. The Australian Government will provide further information about how vaccines will be rolled out over the coming months.
It is suggested that everyone still: