Date published: 
31 March 2021
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Providing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to regional, rural and remote Australians is a key priority of the Australian Government.

Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said more than 597,000 Australians had already received the free jab.

“The vaccine rollout in regional Australia is on track, thanks to the work being done by our General Practitioners, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Commonwealth vaccination clinics in partnership with the states and territories,” Minister Coulton said.

“As the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, I want to remind people living in rural and remote areas that they need to be vaccinated as much as city dwellers.

“Rural areas have seen very few COVID-19 cases, because of quick action by governments and the health sector to stop the spread, including the rapid expansion of telehealth, creation of GP-led respiratory clinics, and special measures for Indigenous communities.

“But we have seen how easily the virus can spread from just a single case in communities. To reduce the risk, without further lockdowns and border closures, we need to take the next major step.

“Vaccination is without doubt our greatest weapon to fight this disease.”

More than 1,000 GPs came online last week as part pf Phase 1b, with more than 4,000 expected to join the rollout in coming week.

The number of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (51) and Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (114) will also continue to grow over the next two weeks and will be complemented by state and territory-led vaccine clinics.

This controlled process ensures vaccines are distributed efficiently and equitably across the country, so that as many people as possible in the 1b phase can receive the vaccine locally.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said, it was encouraging to see the overwhelming enthusiasm of Australians, including in rural and regional areas, in wanting to get vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccine rollout out is one of the largest logistical exercises ever undertaken in this country and we are confident that everyone who wants a vaccine, no matter where they live, will have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Minister Hunt said.

“I also want to acknowledge the hard work of our GPs across the country, who during the first week of Phase 1b administered over 120,000 nationwide, which is a clear demonstration of the sector’s commitment to public health and the communities they serve.”

Minister Coulton encouraged rural Australians to visit the Eligibility Checker, where people can find out which phase of the rollout you are in.

If you are eligible, you will be able to view vaccination clinics and book an appointment online or via phone. If you are not yet eligible, you will be able to register your interest so that you can be notified when you are able to book.

“If you prefer not to use the online option, you can call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080,” Minister Coulton said.