Australia could start vaccinating vulnerable populations next month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced, hoping for Pfizer vaccine approvals to be completed by the end of January

After pressure from the federal opposition and some scientists to speed up the process, Morrison said he hopes to get data from Pfizer this month to allow the vaccine to be approved and “we are now in a position to do so believe that we will be able to”Begin vaccinations against [vulnerable groups] in mid to late February”

The previous schedule was the start of the vaccination program in March Mr Morrison said the goal was to start 80 every weekVaccinate 000 people and get them there in the next four to six weeks

He said the government was working to have four million people vaccinated by the end of March

“Vaccination in 2021 is a key component in dealing with the pandemic here in Australia,” he said

However, the vaccination period depends on approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and delivery of the vaccine from suppliers

The government plans to register the Pfizer vaccine later this month and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in February

Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Federal Department of Health, said that nearly half of the Australian population would be placed in one of the priority groups to receive the vaccine in the first half of this year

The rest of the general adult population could expect to receive the vaccine by mid-year

The first priority group will receive the Pfizer vaccine from one of the 30 to 50 hubs that will be set up nationwide to deliver the vaccine.The two vaccines will eventually be administered from different hubs from their locations, in collaboration with the states and territories established by the Commonwealth

“Assuming all of these things go well, we can begin rolling out the first phase in mid to late February,” said Professor Murphy

This applies to the priority group and they will receive the Pfizer vaccine: quarantine and border workers, health workers, elderly care workers, and elderly care workers

Professor Murphy said the majority of the population would get their vaccines from respiratory clinics set up by the federal government or from general practitioners who have chosen to attend

You can also be vaccinated in special clinics set up by the state health departments or in locations set up by Aboriginal-controlled health services

Professor Murphy said that “significantly” more vaccine doses will be available once the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, as it is made on land and guarantees a supply line

“This allows for a quick rollout. We will expand this to a much wider range of the population at risk,” he said

These include those of advanced age, Indigenous Australians, those over 55 who are at higher risk of disease, other people with clinical conditions who are at greater risk to them, and other high-risk workers who are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 are

“We can guarantee that the vaccine is free and will be delivered for free,” he said, “We want there to be no barrier at all,”

Defending the time it took his department to coordinate the country’s vaccine response, he said health officials were working around the clock on one of the most complex public health exercises of their career “this time is not wasted” he said

When asked why the introduction of vaccination could not come earlier, the prime minister said a two week waiting period would be required after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approves Pfizer vaccine

“The vaccines don’t come out until TGA approval, they show up after that, it takes about a week for the batches to be tested [before they are administered] after that,” said Morrison,

“It moves considerably faster than normal vaccination processes in Australia, but without skipping a step”

Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt said the government’s approach has been to “promise too little but deliver too much,” and he was confident about the new timeframe

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he and select other members of the government would be willing to get early televised vaccinations, as did President and Vice-Presidents-Elect of the United States Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and said it was important Increase public confidence in the vaccine

But he said it was a very low priority compared to making sure the most vulnerable populations were vaccinated

“I don’t think we have to set up the whole cabinet I think there are more important people who need to be vaccinated, “he said

He said there was a “discussion that needs to be had” to make sure people choose the vaccine as it is voluntary

“So we are going to have this discussion,” he said, “It has to be with states and territories that are primarily responsible for public health”

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Scott Morrison

World News – AU – COVID-19 vaccination set to start in February: Scott Morrison

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/covid-19-vaccination-on-track-to-start-in-february-scott-morrison-20210107-p56seb.html