Video Extras

'Milestone': Health Experts Urge All Aussies To Get Coronavirus Vaccine

Health experts are urging all Australians to get the coronavirus vaccine once they are able to, as the start of the jab rollout is heralded as a milestone in the nation's pandemic response.

Australia's largest-ever vaccine rollout has begun. after Prime Minister Scott Morrison led a small band of people to get the nation's first COVID-19 jabs on Sunday.

Health and border control workers, and aged care residents and their carers have started getting the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, at hubs across the country.

But Australia's deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd concedes about 20 per cent of the community are hesitant towards getting a vaccination against coronavirus.

Such a view was on show at the weekend when the Australian Open final crowd booed at the mention of coronavirus vaccinations.

Dr Kidd has sought to assure Australians the medical regulator has undertaken rigorous testing to ensure the jabs are safe and efficient.

"Please, when it comes to be your turn, please line up along with the rest of us and get your vaccine," he told the ABC on Monday.

"Today is a real milestone in our collective response to tackle COVID-19 and bring things as rapidly under control as we can."

The rollout commences with about 60,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to be administered to priority groups.

Dr Kidd said the vaccines were effective at preventing serious cases of COVID-19, but further insights would be known over coming months.

"We don't know if people can still become infected and be at risk of asymptomatic transmission to other people, and we don't yet know how long the immunity conferred by the vaccine will last."

Vaccinations are not compulsory for aged care workers, but the nation's top medical panel are still considering the issue.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said any changes would be based on advice from medical experts, but he expected most workers in the sector to get the jab.

"That's the indications that we're seeing so far, not just in aged care but I think there is a great anticipation in the community," he told Sky News.

Aged care resident Jane Malysiak, 85, who survived World War II in Poland as a child before migrating to Australia, was first in line for the Pfizer vaccination on Sunday.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, chief nursing officer Alison McMillan and Mr Morrison were also in the first group to get the jab.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the shipments were on their way to regional areas.

"This is going to be one of the nation's largest logistical exercises," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Federal Labor backed Mr Morrison getting the jab early, to instil public confidence in the program.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and the head of the Health Department Brendan Murphy will get the alternative AstraZeneca jab when it becomes available, which is expected to be next month.

The government is committed to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians by the end of October.

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines require two separate doses for a person to be fully immunised – Pfizer 21 days apart and AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart.


Phase 1a (up to 1.4 million doses):

Quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, aged care and disability care staff, aged care and disability care residents.

Phase 1b (up to 14.8 million doses):

Elderly adults aged 80 years and over, elderly adults aged 70-79 years, other healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55, younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability, critical and high-risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing personnel.

Phase 2a (up to 15.8 million doses):

Adults aged 60-69 years, adults aged 50-59 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54, other critical and high-risk workers

Phase 2b (up to 16 million doses):

Balance of adult population, catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases.

Phase 3 (up to 13.6 million doses):

If recommended for people under 16 years.