Date published: 
9 June 2021
Media event date: 
8 June 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

The Commonwealth's Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan, joins us from Canberra. Alison, good morning to you.

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Good morning, Michael.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

So, are we seeing the pace starting to quicken?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

We certainly are, Michael. As you say, we've seen the last million in just nine days. It's really very encouraging. And particularly very encouraging to see so many people turning out in Victoria to get vaccinated.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

Okay. So, what percentage of the eligible Australian population has been fully vaccinated now?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

So, Michael, if we use two doses as the determinant of fully vaccinated, that's 613,000 people who've received their second dose - that's 2.9 per cent of the eligible population, the adult population.

But we'll see that grow significantly in the coming weeks as people who had that AstraZeneca vaccine, of course, needed to wait 12 weeks between the two doses. And those doses now are beginning to be delivered, so we'll see the number, as I say, increase quite quickly in the coming weeks.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

Great. I appreciate that's 2.9 per cent of the eligible Australian population. Let's turn to aged care, how many? What percentage of aged care workers have been fully vaccinated?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Michael, I don't have- we don't have clear access to that information as it is, as you would've heard last week.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

[Talks over] Should we have clear access? But, sure, we heard what the Minister said, but shouldn't we?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Well, we're working to get that information as quickly as we can. We have to remember the aged care workers are being encouraged all over the country to get vaccinated as quickly as we can, and we have created special places and priority access for aged care workers to get vaccinated. We'll be collecting that information and we'll have more complete information [indistinct]…

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

In coming weeks? Why is it taking to so long to get what seems like simple information from the aged care sector?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Well, Michael, it's not simple information from the aged care sector. It's a large population of a workforce across an entire country with more than 2500, almost 3000 facilities. We are- we did prioritise aged care residents first as you know, and we're now at 99.8 per cent of aged care facilities and residents vaccinated now focusing on the workforce and collecting that information as soon as we can.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

Okay. Now, let's turn to that second mass vaccination hub in New South Wales opening today. In general terms, how important is it that we have these big hubs? Not just in New South Wales, we've seen them, at least, in Victoria, other states and territories as well. And I guess, fast tracking, Alison, the vaccination rollout?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Look, Michael, these are a really important part of the vaccination rollout. But we've got to remember we need to meet all of the eligible population across Australia. So, for the big cities, these mass vaccination facilities work really well. But as you've heard now, where there are smaller populations and obviously more diffuse such as in the Northern Territory, we've simply just opened up the vaccine to everyone who's eligible. So, we're taking approaches that best meet the community need.

And it's important to remind everyone, if you're in any doubt about whether you're eligible and where you can access the vaccine, go to our website, because that's where the eligibility checker will walk you through where and how you can get your vaccine.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:         

Great advice as always. Alison McMillan, thank you for your time this morning.

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Thanks, Michael.

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