Australia has received its first COVID-19 vaccine shipment — with frontline workers set to begin getting shots as early as next week

  • The first 140,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today.
  • After testing, the rollout of the vaccine is tipped to begin as soon as Monday next week.
  • About two-thirds of the doses will go to the states for frontline workers, and the remaining third will be kept by the federal government for use in aged care facilities.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The Federal Government has announced the long-awaited first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine has touched down in Australia, with plans to start administering the jabs as soon as next week.

On Monday afternoon, Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine at a press conference in Canberra.

“The eagle has landed,” he told assembled reporters.

“They touched down, they are currently being secured, and the advice that I have is that 142,000 doses have arrived in Australia.

“They will now be subject to security, quality assurance, in particular to ensure that temperature maintenance has been preserved throughout the course of the flight, to ensure the integrity of the doses, and to ensure there has been no damage.”

Hunt told reporters that he expects that the first vaccines will be administered on 22 February, with 60,000 doses administered by the end of February.

He also said that he’s hoping for “positive decision” about the AstraZeneca vaccine from the medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Production began on the AstraZeneca vaccine in Melbourne today, with 2 million doses expected to be produced by the end of March.

The first overseas shipment of the AstraZeneca is also expected at the start of March, according to Hunt.

The TGA will test a sample of the Pfizer vaccine before the first shots will be administered.

60% of these doses will then be be allocated to the states, who will begin vaccinating frontline health workers, hotel quarantine staff and aged care facilities.

The remaining doses will be used by the federal government for those in aged care facilities.

“It is the next step in a careful plan based on safety, and this is about protecting Australians,” Hunt said.

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