Aged care residents, nurses and doctors, disabled support residents and hotel quarantine workers, were among the first Australians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine today in Castle Hill, New South Wales. They were joined by personnel from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force alongside Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and the Prime Minister in getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccination program was officially launched today ahead of the formal national rollout across Australia on Monday. Aged care resident Jane Malysiak, 84, from Marayong New South Wales, was the first person in Australia to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a landmark day in Australia’s comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have always made our own Australian way through this pandemic and have done so with considerable success compared with so many other countries around the world,” the Prime Minister said. “This vaccination program launches us down our path out of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. “Every Australian will be given the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge that has been proven to be safe and effective by our own medical experts. “Our first priority is to protect our most vulnerable Australians and the frontline workers who are protecting all of us, and getting vaccinated does just that. “As we rollout the COVID-19 vaccines across the country, we will be asking as many Australians as possible to come forward to be vaccinated, to protect themselves, their families and their communities from this highly infectious disease.” People living and working in aged care and disability care, and quarantine, border and frontline health workers, will receive the COVID-19 vaccine first. The Australian Government has a comprehensive plan to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians by the end of October 2021. The plans starts on Monday with around 60,000 Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses to be administered to priority populations. Under the Australian Government’s plan, quarantine and border workers and aged care residents are on track to be vaccinated by April 2021. Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said, “Vaccines are being prioritised so those most at risk, and those most vulnerable, can get access first.” “The Australian Government has given clear advice on the phases showing who will have access when.” “Today we have released a simple eligibility checker. It lets you answer a few questions and find out the phase in which you’ll be able to access vaccines. You can find it at australia.gov.au,” Minister Hunt said. Under the Australian Vaccination Strategy the COVID-19 Vaccine rollout begins with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and will include the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from March 2021. The Australian Government has secured more than 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Over 50 million doses of AstraZeneca ordered by the Government will be manufactured in Melbourne. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered through hub and spoke hospital vaccination clinics in each state and territory, and in aged care and disability care facilities across the country. The number of hospital-based vaccination clinics will increase as more doses of our approved vaccines arrive in Australia. Vaccination teams will go into aged care facilities – 240 of them across 190 locations nationally this week – to deliver the vaccines on-site. People will initially get the AstraZeneca vaccine at GP respiratory clinics, general practices that meet specific requirements, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and state-run vaccination clinics. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines require two separate doses for a person to be fully immunised – Pfizer/BioNTech 21 days apart, and AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart. For more information www.australia.gov.au or www.healthdirect.gov.au.