Date published: 
17 March 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

GREG HUNT:

Good afternoon everybody. I’m pleased to be joined by Professor Brendan Murphy.

This is the first of our regular updates. He joined the Prime Minister for an update on Sunday, along with obviously Professor John Skerritt, who is the Head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

We’re going to address three things today, a little bit of an update.

Secondly, to talk about the commencement next week of the general practice rollout and therefore of what’s known as Phase 1B where the over 80s and the over 70s, the immunocompromised, health workers, and Indigenous Australians over 55, as well as emergency service workers, will be able to begin the process, over the coming months, of being vaccinated.

And in addition to that, both Professor Murphy and Professor Skerritt, I’m very pleased to be able to say, are able to respond with the TGA and the Government's initial assessment in relation to AstraZeneca with a very important reassurance for Australians about the safety and efficacy of all our vaccines.

And we’ve been asked by Queensland to do that. They have already been able to make an initial positive response and reassuring assessment about the full safety, and I think that’s great work already.

So, in particular, today, and I might ask if we could do the update. What we see is that there's been over 200,000 Australians vaccinated, a very important milestone. Those numbers are growing very quickly every day.

Over 500 aged care facilities and over 45,000 aged care residents, and I think that that’s extremely good and all of the states and territories are playing their part, and we thank them for that.

If we go, now, just to remind where we’re at in the course of the strategy. So the 1A strategy is continuing and that started on the 22nd of February. Four weeks later, on the 22nd of March, the 1B strategy commences.

So this is 6 million Australians, and obviously not all of those will be vaccinated in the first week. So this is patience over the coming month, as we do with the flu season. But we are managing in terms of the doses in and therefore the availability.

So it’s very important to understand not everybody will be able to be vaccinated on day one. Not everybody will be able to be vaccinated in week one. But it commences next week and I think that’s the important thing. And practices will start on the day during the week when they are ready.

So in particular, if we then go forward to recognise this slide, which Professor Murphy discussed with the Prime Minister the other day. Essentially, what’s happening is that next week, we will start the GP build-up of our practices.

And to think, where do Australians get their vaccines normally? They get them within general practices. Next week, over a thousand general practices will commence. And each practice will start on the day that works best for them. And so, not every practice may start on Monday.

It will be practice related. It’ll be up to each facility to determine what time works for them.

Indeed, the very interesting thing is that we had invited over a thousand practices to begin. And we have, at this stage, a 98 per cent take-up amongst general practices that have applied and been accepted. And so, they’ve placed orders and at this stage, we have over 1069 that have placed orders and have had their details provided publicly.

Further practices will come online and they'll be ready to accept, as each practice is, along the course of the way.

In addition, there will be over 100 Commonwealth vaccination clinics that will be made available. Those details will be placed online within the next 48 hours as well as the over 30 initial Aboriginal Committee Controlled Health Organisations.

So if we then go forward, as I say, we look at those different groups of a thousand initially, which will grow to over 4000 by the end of April. We have the GP-led respiratory clinics, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and then there are the state and territory Pfizer clinics. There are over 20 at this stage, but that number is likely grow and they’ll make their own announcements and we’re working very closely with them and I want to thank them for their work.

In terms of the number of doses that will be available to the public, when you think of 6 million, initially, we’ll see approximately 200,000 doses made available to general practices next week. 150,000 to the states for their work in first and second doses on Pfizer, the AstraZeneca, and they’ll be primarily focusing on health workers but some states may have general public clinics but they’ll announce when they feel that they are ready to do that.

And then the Commonwealth GP vaccination clinics, so the special Commonwealth vaccination clinics, which currently do the testing – and total national testing has today passed 15 million, which is an extraordinary national achievement – we’ll have 50,000 available with 100,000 reserved for frontline emergency service, Defence workers and aged care, first and second doses.

So, that process is continuing. So, against that context, when you think of 6 million with 250,000 doses available to the general public next week out of 500,000 all up, we do urge people to understand its patience.

It’s the beginning of a process. Not everybody will be able to be vaccinated on day one or week one. But Australia is in a strong position.

There has been one new case nationwide today in New South Wales associated with the previously announced case. When you think of two potential outbreaks in two states on the weekend, with one follow-up case, that’s an extraordinary sign of the containment and capacity.

If I could just go on, what we’ll see is from the start of the GP rollout next week, with over a thousand points of presence, and then we go on the 22nd of March, and we go forward approximately four weeks, we’ll then have national coverage of approximately 5000 points of presence when you count the general practices, the state clinics, the over 300 finally we’ll expect Aboriginal Committee Controlled Health Organisation points of presence, and the Commonwealth vaccination clinics.

So then if we just go forward to how do I find out, so the key thing here is that the vaccination information and location service. That’s available either two ways – so this is the Commonwealth booking process – australia.gov.au or health.gov.au. Two different front doors.

And what that will do is will allow you information, in case of the GP respiratory clinics and some practices where you can book directly through that service or you can go to their own online service or you can telephone them. You can telephone your general practice directly. And then there’s the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800-020-080. 1800-020-080.

And then, if you look at how can I make an appointment, you can approach a practice directly. Not every practice will start immediately. As we say, from 1000 next week to over 4000 by the end of April.

GPs, some practices may choose to reach out to their patients. And if you go through the National Information Service, you can click through via the vaccine information location service, or as I say, call the national hotline.

If I just look briefly, if you go online, there’s an eligibility checker and you can check whether you’re eligible and they’ll tell you you’re now eligible, and you can find, near you, the service. It could be Commonwealth, state or general practice. So all of those are available to every person. Or if you’re not in this group now, the 1B group, then you can register your interest and you’ll receive an electronic notification when your phase starts.

That then brings me to just a final thought, and that’s to thank everybody for their patience. Australians have been magnificent over the last, at this stage, 14 months, during the course of the pandemic. And we know that the doses and the number of clinics will grow.

We’re going from 6 million people. We’ll start with 250,000 doses that are available – that's not to say that all those doses will be used in one week as general practices start at different times, staggered times during the week, and as they get up to speed, but we’re seeing massive growth already – 200,000 doses yesterday. Numbers likely to be significantly greater by the end of today.

And so therefore, it will take time for all of the eligible patients to receive their doses and appointments will progressively come online. And these vaccinations will run through to the middle of the year.

Now I’ll ask Professor Murphy, who’s head of the vaccines task force, to address two things: who can be vaccinated and secondly and importantly, just to provide that reassurance from the Commonwealth; and then Professor Skerritt from the TGA with regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine and the questions raised by Queensland, which we’ve briefed the CEO and we’ve briefed the Minister on and I think they were very grateful and very relieved.

BRENDAN MURPHY:

Thanks Minister. So just to reemphasise the point the Minister said about people being patient, it is going to take us many weeks to get through 1B.

And while some GP clinics are coming online next week, they won't be releasing appointments until they’re sure of their vaccine deliveries, which are coming in the next day or two, and they will progressively release appointments. So please don’t badger your GPs. Be patient. Take your time.

Everyone in 1B will get vaccinated in coming weeks, but it will take a while for this to scale up. So we’re just asking people, by all means, go into the website, look at that eligibility checker, see what clinics are available now, and if yours isn’t available now, it may well come on later on. But take time.

We’re not in a hurry in Australia. We don’t have a burning platform, as I’ve said on many occasions. We can take our time to do this vaccination properly.

Next slide. Oh, we've got that slide up now. So, basically, 1b- sorry, go back, my fault. Who will be vaccinated under 1b. So we know that health care workers now right across the health care sector are included. Some were in 1a, the rest of them are now in 1b.

We are including the household contacts of quarantine and border workers because we’ve now vaccinated the quarantine and border workers almost completely in 1a, but the household contacts represent another ring of containment.

As we have seen in the last few months, the real risk to Australia now of COVID is from quarantine introduction. There are a range of critical and high-risk workers currently employed, particularly meat workers. We’ve known, for example, that the meat industry is a high rate of transmission of COVID, and clearly for many emergency and other workers.

But the critical thing that Minister Hunt’s just announced now is from next week, we are starting our general population age cohorts. So this is the first time we’ve gone broadly but within an age cohort. And we’re starting with the over-70s and over-80s.

And that’s why we have chosen a primarily GP lead primary care rollout because, this population generally would like to get vaccinated close to home. And as their GP clinics come online, most of them over the next four weeks, they will be able to access them. But be patient, as I’ve said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 – or 55 and over – who have a higher risk of being susceptible to COVID, and a range of people – and there’s information on our website – with specific underlying medical condition, including people with significant disability.

So for example people on dialysis with chronic renal failure or severe chronic lung disease, a range of conditions. In many cases the GPs, obviously, will be well familiar with those chronic conditions.

Next slide? So, the most important thing, if there’s any concerns about whether you’re eligible in phase 1b, go to that website that the Minister showed earlier, it has a very good eligibility checker which is easy to use.

Or, if you’re not confident to use internet or website, you can ring that helpline that was put up before. And talk to someone, and they can talk you through all of the options, your eligibility. If you’re not currently eligible, you can register, as the Minister said, and come- and you’ll be a notification, and even if you are eligible, it may not be possible to make an appointment for some weeks, be patient.

The appointments will increase significantly as the number of clinics rollout over the next month. And you can keep going back to the eligibility checker and the clinic finder if there’s no appointment currently available, then just check at another time.

So finally, there’s been some countries in Europe and obviously some interest in Australia, about vaccine safety. Professor Skerritt will talk about this issue in more detail, but it’s important to note that when you’re vaccinating a very large number of people as we’ve seen in Europe, you will get events that may be seen by some people to be associated with the vaccine.

But you need to very carefully and safely analyse the data. And I think it was very important that the European’s Medicines Agency are now looking at the data related to clot.

All of the evidence that we have seen suggests that there is no increase above what you’d expect in that population – in the vaccinated population – of these thrombotic events.

But clearly, there’s anxiety when you’ve got new vaccines. And we understand that people want to be cautious. But we are very confident in Australia that those incidents that have been reported in Europe, and people have taken a highly precautionary approach, that they are not a significant issue.

We’ve not seen any issue at all to suggest that there is a higher increase of stroke. But Professor Skerritt can talk more about that as well.

In terms of the recent concerns from Queensland about anaphylaxis, we know that vaccines have an association with anaphylaxis. Between one in ten per million people, with all vaccines, can have an anaphylactic reaction.

There are components that produce anaphylactic reactions. People with anaphylaxis will generally know, they’ve had it in the past.

And our ATAGI advice has always been that people with anaphylactic reactions particularly to vaccine components should be vaccinated under medical supervision with a doctor present in the facility. And they should stay for longer, for 30 minutes rather than the recommended 15 minutes.

Again, sometimes you do see a greater than what made the expected incidence of reports, this will be investigated by the TGA, but there is, to my knowledge, no reason at all for concern.

We’ve seen anaphylaxis with the Pfizer vaccine, we’ve seen a smaller number with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and they have all been expertly treated.

We would expect to see anaphylaxis, all our vaccine clinics are prepared and have adrenaline on hand, and know how to manage this condition.

So, we are confident that our program should continue to go ahead as it has. I’ve had the AstraZeneca vaccine a week ago and, more than a week ago, with Minister Hunt, and I am very confident this is a very safe and very, very effective vaccine.

So I will get Professor Skerritt to talk a bit more specifically about these issues.

JOHN SKERRITT:

Thank you, Brendon. Our role, of course, at the TGA is not just in the regulatory approval of vaccines, what we call pre-market, but to, for months and years after any medicine or vaccine is approved, to continue to monitor its safety.

We also have the advantage, and often bags under our eyes, because we have the advantage of very close networks internationally.

So for example, I was involved, together with a couple of colleagues in a video conference with no fewer than 18 countries last night, until about midnight, talking about the safety reports for both Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and also Moderna, which isn’t relevant to Australia.

There’s really two things that our safety detectives have to do with reports to vaccines. So, the first is, for example with the recent clotting events that have been described, is trying to unpick the difference between background rates in the communities.

So, we know that, sadly, people get sick every day. And in Australia, the statistic is 165,000 people die every year. It’d be a crowded planet if people didn’t die, as sad as it is from a personal point of view.

We also know that even with things like clots, 17,000 a year, either present at hospitals, sometimes as emergencies, but also as a routine course of care with your doctor. And they’re generally treated with anticoagulant medicines.

So our challenge is knowing that if 17,000 people get clots a year, and even if there is an unusual spot of clotting that’s detected and only detected in and only detected in two and maybe a third European countries.

Even if that’s, say, 200 or 300 a year, differentiating between what is just, frankly, bad luck, natural frequency of these things happening, and whether it’s a cause and effect with a vaccine.

And as I’ve said, or as Professor Murphy said, a number of European countries – but not the overarching agency, they are still firm with us in that they don’t believe there’s cause and effect. But there’s an extensive meeting tonight, Australian time, involving all the European experts, in addition to the studies and discussions that we’ve already had with them.

So, we’re obviously waiting to see if there’s any further information, but at this stage, we don’t believe that there’s conclusive evidence of cause and effect with the clotting issue. We also have said, and I’ve said in the media several times in the last 24 hours, but the largest group of people vaccinated with the same vaccine in the UK, almost 11 million, in fact it’s heading towards 12 now, haven’t shown this clotting problem.

And also in totally different systems, the Saudi Arabian system, just to pull one out of the air. They’ve vaccinated a million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine and not seen this clotting problem. So, it’s been reported in a couple of small – comparatively small – countries such as the Netherlands and Norway, possibly. They’re still not sure. And Germany has also identified a few possible reports.

But again, we’re busily working with our European and international colleagues to identify whether it’s cause and effect, we don’t believe it is at the moment. But, as we have more information, we regularly put up updates.

Today, I want to talk about something that, as Professor Murphy mentions, does happen in a small number of individuals, called anaphylaxis. It’s an allergic reaction.

And yes, a lot more of us are allergic to things like house dust and dogs. I’m allergic to rabbits, for example, which is a result of 20 years of working in as an immunologist in a lab. And guess what I was vaccinating? Rabbits. And eventually became allergic to them. So, allergy to animals and things are quite common.

Less common though, are allergy to specific drugs or vaccines, but it’s not unknown. And, from the very days of the Pfizer rollout, there was a few, a small number of people, who showed these anaphylactic reactions.

Now, as Brendan mentioned, the clinics are set up with adrenaline and, generally, most well-trained doctors in clinics know exactly what to do. There’s also a case of some of these may not be true anaphylaxis but just be a less severe form of allergic reaction.

But the main message I want to take out is this is not something about COVID vaccines. Any medicine or vaccine in a very small number of people can cause this anaphylactic reaction.

We’ve probably all heard about kids who can’t eat peanuts. That’s an example. That’s more common than medical anaphylaxis. And the guidance, as it says, is that if you’re one of these people who have a known history of reaction to drugs or vaccines, talk about it with you vaccinator, give them a heads up, and stay under monitoring for 30 minutes after the vaccination.

That’s not a blanket recommendation. Everyone else, there’s a recommendation from ATAGI which is the clinical advisory group, that you stay for 15 minutes and be monitored post-vaccination.

So what are we doing about these anaphylaxis reports and what do we know? So, we have 19 reports of anaphylaxis nationally, mainly actually from the Pfizer vaccine. And that’s consistent with the global experience. But while this is rare, it is less rare for the Pfizer and for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But it also happens rarely with all sorts of other vaccines. That’s what I emphasise. This is nothing to do with COVID vaccines, specifically. We’ve had 14 of those following the Pfizer in Australia, and 5 following the AstraZeneca vaccine. So, there appears to have been a cluster in Queensland. And again, clusters happen, and it’s not necessarily something special about Queensland.

Now, we’ve looked at that batch of vaccine. That batch of vaccine that’s been used in Queensland is actually being administered right across the country. And yet, we’ve only had one other possible case of anaphylaxis elsewhere in the country.

And that batch has been administered, and I wouldn’t be surprised, my two colleagues here – I haven’t had the vaccine yet. I’m waiting my turn, and I’ll do the eligibility checker. But I wouldn’t be surprised the same batch has been used in my two colleagues here.

The other thing that we’ve done just to check there’s nothing wrong with that particular batch is we have done extensive laboratory testing, and we have well equipped laboratories you may have seen the Minister and Prime Minister visit.

And they have actually physically tested samples of that batch, and in parallel, the exact same batch has been tested by the UK equivalent of TGA, and they have one of the best laboratories and a much bigger lab than we have for testing the same batch, and there were no problems with it. So we believe it’s safe to use.

We are continuing to look at the individual cases of anaphylaxis, trying to pin whether it is related to the vaccine, whether it is something particular about the way the vaccine was administered, and for example whether that should add to any other warnings or safeguards.

But we certainly don't believe that there is a problem with that particular batch. And we certainly don't believe there is any specific problem around either AstraZeneca or Pfizer COVID vaccines.

These are rare events that do happen in patients, and the other thing is that individuals who have had vaccine or drug anaphylaxis generally, as Professor Murphy said, know about it.

They know that they’ve got to be careful, and so that’s why we are encouraging people who’ve had anaphylaxis to a medicine or a vaccine to have that discussion before they’re vaccinated. But we’re very confident about that individual vaccine.

But our advice, just to conclude, which is consistent with ATAGI is that it should be administered as per the advice, so if you are an anaphylactic person, you’re watched for 30 minutes and you tell the vaccinator ahead of time.

But there shouldn't be general concern among the broader, the overwhelming majority of us who do not have these allergic reactions, there should be no concern.

GREG HUNT:

We will go quickly because we have to finish at 1:55pm. Clare?

JOURNALIST:

Minister the Hunt, the national average for amount of vaccines actually being delivered is 28 per cent of our allocation. Some states are claiming they’re holding onto second doses, stockpiling effectively, but they don’t need to. Can you confirm they don’t need to do that because the Commonwealth holds vaccines?

GREG HUNT:

The Commonwealth holds the contingency. All doses that have been distributed to states and territories are available for immediate administration.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned that only, less than a third doses that you’ve given out to states are going into arms?

GREG HUNT:

We have had very high take-up in some states and territories: Tasmania, the Northern Territory, New South Wales amongst others, the ACT.

Others are progressing at different places, yes, to be honest. But those four in particular have been very strong. Western Australia is doing well, South Australia is growing quickly.

And so the answer is very simple. There is no reason to hold back any vaccines in any state or territory. Every state and territory knows the- that all vaccines that have been delivered are free to be ministered immediately.

JOURNALIST:

GP phone lines have gone into meltdown today as people try to make an appointment to get a vaccine, which is good because people obviously want to get vaccinated, but some people are being told if they’re not a member of that GP practice, they can't get a vaccine there.

And also they’re being told if they’re not a member of that practice, they have to pay for a separate appointment to have their eligibility assessed that won’t be bulk billed. Is that against the rules?

GREG HUNT:

Certainly, the vaccines must be bulk billed. And so if anybody were charging for a consultation, that would be a breach. And so we’d be very keen to.

JOURNALIST:

But if you charge for a consultation in advance of the vaccine to see if the person was eligible.

GREG HUNT:

That would clearly be in breach of it.

JOURNALIST:

What action will be taken against GPs doing that?

GREG HUNT:

You gave great prominence to it today, and I thank you for that. Today’s the first day. And the vaccines are actually being rolled out to the individual practices over the next 48 hours for commencement next week at a time that fits with them.

Secondly, in relation to that, the answer is that the practices themselves will determine which patients they are able to serve. It’s just a minor correction to that which was published today, that it’s up to the individual practices.

Some practices have said they will take all comers. The GP vaccination clinics, which have been doing the testing, what are known as respiratory clinics but will now be vaccination clinics, they will take everybody.

And that’s very, very important. And so who a practice takes is a matter for a general practice. But as to the fact that has to be bulk billed, it does have to be bulk billed. Rachel?

JOURNALIST:

On the eligibility checker, some are clinics that were listed on that weren’t aware they were listed and don’t actually have vaccines yet. Other clinics have only had their phone numbers listed while they actually have web booking facilities. Why is that, and has this website been rushed?

GREG HUNT:

No. We always said that it would be out this week. All practices – and we have Dr Lucas de Toca, the head of our program, who’s with us today – all practices that are listed today are actually made, not only been approved, but they have made orders themselves.

So the only practices that are being listed today are those that have submitted and had confirmed their orders. Every practice, if there is in some way, shape.

JOURNALIST:

But they haven’t received their vaccines.

GREG HUNT:

Well, no, the vaccines were not being distributed until today and tomorrow. So that is a different question.

But every practice that has been listed has applied, been approved, and submitted an order themselves.

JOURNALIST:

So why weren’t their websites included, then, if they have got these online booking systems?

GREG HUNT:

Well, everything that we have received, we’ve included and the other thing is we’ll continue to add.

So the good news is if there are practices that are willing to provide those websites and have their own online booking services, we’ll continue to add.

And so today is day one, not of the vaccine rollout, simply of the notification that in some cases, previously, that hasn't been provided.

If it is now going forwards, there are those three ways forward: phone, the practice’s online site and those that are linked to the information service through that directly.

So all of those are there, and I’d urge everyone to be calm. This is going to occur over the coming months. Today is about notifying, and then there is the vaccine rollout.

JOURNALIST:

Was today always the day for the website to go live? Has it been brought forward? And very briefly, the million doses for PNG.

GREG HUNT:

No, today was always the day.

JOURNALIST:

The million doses for PNG, does that affect the Australian rollout?

GREG HUNT:

No, at this stage, what we're doing is seeking, as the Prime Minister announced, from the European Union and the EC, the release of 1 million of our AstraZeneca international doses.

In the dose allocation which the Prime Minister and Professor Murphy released on Sunday, there were not additional doses beyond the 700,000 we’ve already received from AstraZeneca International which were included in those forward projections.

JOURNALIST:

There are residents in aged care facilities who are still waiting to receive their jab. They don't know when they’re going to get it. What would you say to them, given they may be a bit anxious now that the next phase is being launched?

GREG HUNT:

So, the aged care program is ongoing. Again, the details of that were reaffirmed on Sunday by Professor Murphy and the Prime Minister.

As of today, we have reached, as of last night, over 45,500 aged care residents, 509 facilities. By the end of today, we will be approaching 540 facilities.

And so every day, there’s significant growth, and over the coming weeks, we will continue to reach out to facilities across the country, and we’re coming to every facility.

It has to start somewhere, it has to end somewhere, but the job that our team has done in making sure that rural and regional and priority areas are focused upon first has been fantastic.

BRENDAN MURPHY:

It’s important to note that we haven't diverted anything from the aged care to start 1B. This is new vaccines, different vaccine.

Aged care residents are getting Pfizer vaccine, and it is ramping up. We gave the initial Pfizer to hotel and quarantine and border workers.

We have now switched that around, and the great majority of Pfizer is going into aged care. We are ramping up that program. The start of 1B has no impact on the aged care rollout.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, can I just return to the flavour of Clare’s question please? On 12 March you said we’d done 159,000 vaccinations. Now you say as of 16 March we’ve done 203,000, which is 44,000 more over four days. That’s 11,000 more per day on average.

I think a lot of people are asking what’s the bottleneck here in putting more of these vaccines out? You say supply is a big issue, but we have got 1.3 million vaccinations in this country at least.

Even if we’re holding back second doses, that means there’s 900,000 vaccines sitting in warehouses somewhere not going out. Is it that health workers are still getting used to giving these vaccinations out?

GREG HUNT:

If I may, in the first three weeks, we had the 50,000 Pfizer doses allocated to each state. We have had 200,000 AstraZeneca doses allocated to the states. The states are progressing.

In relation to Clare’s question with regards individual states, you will have to ask them about their particular rollouts. Overall, they’re doing very well.

There are different paces within that. There are some who are slower and some who are faster. The ACT, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Queensland, WA, in particular, they have been at the front of it. But all are doing well.

The second doses it's absolutely critical to hold. And then the 400,000, which was received as part of the AstraZeneca second shipment, that’s now being attributed to the general practices and to the states and the GP respiratory clinics for next week.

And the numbers, of course, on the weekend are lower. But what we saw yesterday was over 18,000 vaccinations, and those numbers are increasing every day.

JOURNALIST:

Minister Hunt, what was the cause of the technical issues on the vaccine booking website today, and when will they be fixed?

GREG HUNT:

Well, our understanding is that, I'm not aware of technical issues per se. Individual firms or practices are still to provide details. We just add them as we go.

JOURNALIST:

Because there were reports of people having issues with the website in the booking function.

GREG HUNT:

But today’s day one. Today was about putting out the list, also to make sure that we are testing the system. All up, remember there’s 6 million people, 250,000 general population doses, not all of those will be taken out next week. Not all of those will be administered immediately.

And so what we’re saying is here’s information, let’s put all of this into perspective. We are moving as we always said we would.

Late February, the commencement of the Pfizer for 1A. Early March, the commencement of the AstraZeneca for 1A. Late March, the commencement of the CSL doses which would allow us to commence 1B, and that’s exactly what is occurring.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, Queensland has warned people with the anaphylactic, with allergic reactions, severe allergic reactions, to delay getting the vaccine. Is that the right call? Should that approach were taken nationally?

GREG HUNT:

I will make one brief remark, and then we’ll have to finish, and I’ll throw to Professor Murphy. The answer is that they said that was a temporary measure whilst the TGA was assessing.

We have briefed them that the TGA has assessed. It will be a matter for them how they respond. But the TGA, as Brandon and John Skerritt have said, have done an initial assessment and found the vaccines to be safe, effective, and that the program can continue.

Brendan?

BRENDAN MURPHY:

So if people are eligible at present and they have a history of anaphylaxis, we recommend, as ATAGI advice is, that they should not delay vaccination but they should discuss their vaccination with their doctor and be vaccinated in a clinical setting where they can be observed for 30 minutes under medical supervision.

But we don't believe they should delay vaccination.

GREG HUNT:

I apologise, we will have to finish. Two minutes to go. But thank you very much.

But the key point there is the reassurance, the TGA has done the assessment as Queensland asked, and we found a very positive response from Queensland. Thank you.

Ministers: