The Federal Government has announced that it will contribute almost another $2 billion towards the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, to assist frontline health agencies including hospitals, GPs and pharmacies to administer the vaccine to the community.
Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement of the extra funding during his first address this year.
The $1.9 billion is intended to help with the logistics of delivering the vaccine, which are scheduled to commence at the end of February.
“The final commencement date will however be contingent on developments overseas, which the government continue to monitor and update accordingly,” Mr Morrison said.
The funding will particularly benefit regional areas like Mildura with hospitals expected to receive the lions share, with GP’s and pharmacies also in line to be given money to cover the cost of administering the vaccine.
Pharmacies will be used to administer the COVID vaccines across Australia with tenders being sought from pharmacy groups to undertake the massive task which is one of the largest logistical exercises since World War Two.
Chemist Warehouse Mildura managing partner Eric Oguzkaya said the tenders were issued this week and the pharmacy group had applied for it.
“We believe we are a good candidate to be awarded a tender. We have good track history with our administering of the Flu vaccine over the past few years,” Mr Oguzkaya said.
“The biggest question is which vaccine will it be and what the procedures will be required to handle that.
“The Pfizer vaccine has been approved in Australia, but the others haven’t and so there are quite a few in the pipeline – so it is going to be a wait and see situation.”
Mr Oguzkaya said people can all rest assured that Australia’s choice is going to prove to be the safest one and the one that is best for Australia.
“We can see that they have rushed a few things overseas and some of the other vaccines are coming up short,” he said.
“We can feel very confident that the Government is doing what is best for all Australians and I have no issues at all in that regard and what we have will be safe and people will be confident to take it up.”
Phase 1a of the vaccine roll-out will be for quarantine and border workers, frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation. In addition, aged care and disability care staff and aged care and disability care residents will be prioritised.
Phase 1b of the roll-out will see elderly adults aged 80 years and over and adults aged 70-79 years together with other health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 years and younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability, receive their vaccinations.