The Australian Government’s roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines across the country is moving closer, with the plans for the complex distribution process and safe and secure storage of the vaccines well in hand.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communities and Local Government Mark Coulton on Sunday inspected DHL Supply Chain’s large scale ultra-cold storage infrastructure.

DHL’s ultra-cold and secure storage facility will keep safe the supply of Australia’s Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored at between minus 60 and 80 degrees. Australia will receive 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses in 2021.

Mr McCormack said DHL is one of two world-class logistics and distribution companies contracted to ensure the COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone in Australia, no matter where they live.

“I have been determined to ensure that regional and rural Australia gets the same access to the vaccine that our cities will and that’s what we are doing,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Australians have done the right thing throughout this pandemic and now the Australian Government is making sure everyone who wants to be vaccinated is, and is for free.

“We now have access to more than 150 million vaccine doses across the Pfizer-BioNTech, OxfordAstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, ensuring we remain a world leader in the fight against the virus.

“It is important that these vaccines, which are in high-demand worldwide, are kept safe and secure which is what the Australian Government and our logistics partners are doing.

“This afternoon we were shown how the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines across Australia is moving closer, with the plans for the complex process and safe and secure distribution.

“DHL is capable of handling close to three million Pfizer vaccine doses, as part of the initial deliveries to Australia.”

Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communities and Local Government Mark Coulton said the Australian Government is partnering with world-leading logistics provider, DHL, to ensure vaccines will be available to all Australians, including those in rural and remote Australia.

“We all understand how vast Australia is and the challenges we face delivering these vaccines to everyone, with more than a third of our population living outside capital cities,” Minister Coulton said.

“The Government is committed to ensuring every Australian receives safe, effective vaccines, wherever they live.

“That’s why we are partnering with highly-experienced logistics professionals to ensure we have the capacity to deliver on our national vaccination plan.

“Every person living in regional, rural, and remote Australia can rest assured they will have access to safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as their city cousins.

“Australians will soon begin to receive their two-shot vaccine regime, with priority populations starting at the end of February.”

DHL will also distribute the Astra Zeneca and Novavax vaccines – when approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – to Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and external territories, such as Norfolk Island.

DHL will also support the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine in aged care residential facilities and disability residences across Australia.

Vaccination of Australians against COVID 19 will commence in late February to ensure an orderly roll out to priority groups which is safe, effective and explained properly to Australians.