Since the pandemic began, we’ve known that our best chance of getting back to normal is if a vaccine can be found and made accessible.

With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now approved by Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) and the AstraZeneca vaccine soon to be approved, this chance is now a reality.

Although the development was accelerated for these vaccines, safety has remained the top priority throughout the process.

Australia’s effectiveness in suppressing the virus has meant that we have had the time to secure a huge supply of 150 million doses and build our capacity to produce vaccines right here in Melbourne at CSL.

It has also meant that authorities have not had to accelerate their approval process and have had more time than most countries to assess the safety of the vaccines and observe and learn from other countries’ vaccination programs.

We should all be assured by the fact that the same safety standard has been applied to these vaccines as any other vaccine that we use in this country.

Now that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven, the next step is rolling it out.

This is expected to start in late February and will occur in three phases:

Phase 1a – Quarantine, border and frontline workers and aged care and disability residents.

Phase 1b – Elderly adults over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55, adults with an underlying medical condition and critical workers.

Phase 2a – Adults aged over 50 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 18.

Phase 2b – Balance of adult population.

Phase 3 – Under 18 (if recommended). 

To administer the vaccinations, hubs will be established by the state government across metro and regional locations. The hubs for Pfizer vaccines that have been announced so far are:

Monash Health;  Austin Health;  Western Health;  Latrobe Health;  Barwon Health;  Ballarat Health;  Bendigo Health;  Goulburn Valley Health;  Albury Wodonga Health

At later phases of the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, vaccinations will also be available at GP clinics and pharmacies.

The vaccine is not a silver bullet and we will still need to ensure we are practising COVIDSafe measures, but it provides us with a great chance of getting back to normal.

If you have any questions about the vaccine, it’s important that you seek out official sources of information. For more information and answers to common question you can visit: www.health.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines