As we move into 2021, attention is turning to the rollout of vaccines for COVID-19.
Experts around the globe are working on the creation and distribution of vaccines and treatments for the virus.
The Queensland Government has a plan to deliver them to Queenslanders, working alongside the Australian Government.
How will the vaccine be delivered?
The Australian Government is in charge of selecting, buying and regulating the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Queensland Government is in charge of delivering the vaccine to Queenslanders.
As such, Queensland Health is working closely with the Australian Government on the vaccine’s roll out.
When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine will be rolled out in stages, over a 6 to 12-month period. The first to receive the vaccine will be those people who are at greatest risk of exposure and the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The vaccine will be made available free of charge to all Queenslanders.
We expect the rollout of the vaccine to begin in mid to late February for the highest priority groups, pending approvals.
More information will be available in the coming weeks.
What are the priority groups?
The priority groups are as follows:
- Individuals at a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 (including quarantine workers and front-line health staff)
- Individuals who are vulnerable to serious illness and death due to COVID-19 (such as residents of aged care facilities).
Which vaccine will I get?
The Australian Government has invested more than $3.3 billion in promising vaccine candidates, and currently has agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, if they are proved to be safe and effective.
Pending approvals, we expect the first priority groups (those at the greatest risk of exposure and those most vulnerable to COVID-19) to receive the Pfizer vaccine from mid to late February. The vaccine doses purchased by the Australian Government will be manufactured overseas and delivered to Australia.
Later priority groups (including the general population) will most likely be receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine (pending approvals). This process is expected to begin in March 2021 and will take several months for all Australians to be vaccinated.
The vaccine split, and phased implementation approach, helps ensure that those at highest risk are vaccinated first.
Are the vaccines safe?
All vaccines go through various trials and tests before they are approved for use.
Before a COVID-19 vaccine is used in Australia, it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA considers the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use in Australia.
What can I do?
It is important to continue to protect yourself and others. You must wash your hands often, practice physical distancing, stay home if you are sick and get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is incorrect information around about immunisation. Even advice from well-meaning friends and relatives may not be correct.
For more information about the vaccines visit the Australian Government website.