Australia’s world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic will strengthen, with more doses of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being provided to Australians this week.
Two safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the nation now, which means the Government can scale up the vaccination rollout to our priority groups, including our most vulnerable people and frontline health workers, border and quarantine workers.
Every Australian will have access to free, universally available safe and effective vaccines, as 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be manufactured in Australia by CSL. The first locally manufactured doses are expected to be available by the end of March.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is well suited to our country. It can be handled and stored like most other vaccines, unlike the Pfizer vaccine which requires extreme cold.
It will be far easier to distribute to rural, regional and remote areas, so people in these areas do not have to travel to major cities to receive their vaccine.
This vaccine provides the option for the majority of Australians to get their vaccination through their usual GP, local respiratory centre and eventually community pharmacies.
Importantly the TGA has conducted a full and thorough, and world class assessment process.
In terms of fighting the pandemic, the AstraZeneca vaccine is as good as any in the world.
The aim of the vaccination program is to save and protect lives. Both vaccines approved for use in Australia will keep people out of intensive care and off ventilators.
Both will be provided to everyone living in Australia free of charge, in accordance with the Government’s rollout plans.
The first 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived from overseas on 28 February, are now being distributed nationwide by the Government’s logistics partners DHL and Linfox.
Vaccination will protect the nation against the virus and steer us through to the end of the pandemic.
On 15 February 2021, the World Health Organization said, “This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second dose.”
On 3 February 2021 the Lancet Journal said, “COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca confirms 100% protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death in the primary analysis of Phase III trials.”
Australia has maintained a diverse portfolio of vaccines, and are constantly engaging with international counterparts and vaccine sponsors to access the best available information on vaccine developments worldwide.
The Government has also secured 20 million Pfizer doses and, pending TGA approval, 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.
The Australian Government has also signed up to the international COVAX facility, which provides access to a range of vaccines to immunise up to 50 per cent of the Australian population.
Information on the phases of the vaccine rollout is available on australia.gov.au. This includes a simple test to check your eligibility and find out what phase you will be offered vaccination.