Over-70s at front of the queue for Covid-19 vaccine

Dec 16, 2020
Australia's Covid-19 vaccine program is still expected to begin by March 2021. Source: Getty.

The Australian Government has announced that over-70s will be first in line to get the coronavirus vaccine, in what is the first look at the nation’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan. The plans, seen by the Herald Sun, show that people with certain pre-exisiting underlying medical conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will also be among the first in line.

Health and aged care workers, group residential care workers and disability care workers will also be top priority, followed by prisoners, other detention inmates and guards, and people working in meat-processing plants.

The next priority groups include emergency services providers, defence force personnel, public health staff and staff managing quarantine facilities. Those who work in the supply and distribution of essential goods and services – such as food, water, electricity and telecommunications – will be next in line.

The Herald Sun reports that the government has yet to outline which groups will follow those, however, children and pregnant women will likely be last, as most vaccines have not yet been tested on younger people or pregnant women.

The news comes after the University of Queensland’s promising vaccination program was canned after a number of participants returned false positive HIV test results after receiving the vaccination. Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed plans to abandon the vaccine on Friday morning last week.

“I think today and the decisions we’ve taken should give Australians great assurance that we are proceeding carefully, we are moving swiftly but not with any undue haste here,” Morrison told reporters. “At the end of the day, the Therapeutic Goods Administration – like with any vaccine in Australia – must have their tick-off. Without the tick, there’s no jab when it comes to vaccines in this country.

“We’ve all had vaccinations at various times in our lives. I have, my children have. And we take those vaccines in great confidence of the system that we have here in Australia. What you’re seeing here is the system at work, protecting Australians, and making good decisions in the public health interest. So that’s why we were so keen to keep Australians up to date here this morning – so you know where we’re at. But the truth is, we’re on track. The system’s working as it should. And Australians are protected, as always.”

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