Date published: 
19 July 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:   

For more on Australia's vaccine rollout, I'm joined by the head of the National COVID Vaccine Taskforce, Lieutenant General John Frewen. Good morning to you. We're now getting a million doses of Pfizer every week. How quickly will they get into people's arms?

JOHN FREWEN:    

Nat, as quickly as we can. We've had two really great pieces of news in the last few days. Over the weekend, we've hit the 10 million doses have been administered in Australia mark, and then this news about a million doses a week, at least out until the end of August. So we're moving as fast as we can to get them into people's arms.

NATALIE BARR:   

Okay. So let's talk numbers. Way back when we talked about the group of 1As - the quarantine workers, Border Force, frontline workers, health care, aged care - and they were all supposed to be done months ago. Are any of them left to vaccinate?

JOHN FREWEN:    

Yeah, absolutely. Look, this is still about prioritising our most vulnerable - that's our over 70s, our people in aged care. But we're working really hard now on a couple of key priority areas. Of course front-line health workers will always be critical to us. But aged care workers now is one area that were really expecting to focus on over the next couple of weeks and months.

NATALIE BARR:   

So what percentage of aged care workers do we still need to vaccinate in this country?

JOHN FREWEN:    

Yeah, we're up to- we're over 40 per cent of first dose and over 20 per cent now of second dose, so we've still got a way to go. But we're working really hard to encourage all of those aged care workers to get to a vaccination now. They've been given priority, they've been given access to Pfizer, so we're hoping to see some good numbers soon.

NATALIE BARR:   

You must be pretty disappointed because it's July, was it because we just didn't have enough?

JOHN FREWEN:    

Look, initially, it was about the most vulnerable, and that's the- they were the aged care residents. So there's really good coverage in aged care residents now, they are over 80 per cent fully vaccinated now, but the workers, they are the next priority in that sector so that's who we're encouraging now to get vaccinated as quickly as they can.

NATALIE BARR:   

Okay. A million a week from this week of Pfizers arriving in the country, so that is good news. Lieutenant-General, thanks for your time.

JOHN FREWEN:    

Thanks, Nat.

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