Frontline healthcare workers, vulnerable people like aged care residents and people with chronic illness will be among the first to vaccinated against COVID-19 as the first batches of the Pfizer vaccine arrive in the country this week.
Already, Queensland and the Northern Territory have announced the location of the vaccine hubs.
Health workers and staff at the Howard Springs COVID-19 quarantine facility will be among the first Northern Territorians vaccinated against the virus.
Queensland’s coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin on the Gold Coast.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on Monday the rollout will begin “towards the end of the month”.
“They will be making sure that the batches are correct and then towards the end of the month there’ll be a slow rollout,” she said, ahead of a cabinet meeting in Ipswich on Monday.
Once the vaccine arrives in Queensland authorities are ready to rapidly distribute the shot at special hubs in Cairns, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s north and south.
In the NT, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said staff at Howard Springs will be among the first vaccinated against the virus, with their Pfizer vaccine jabs expected to be administered next week.
Age and disability care residents, hospital staff and border control workers, including police and airport personnel, will also be prioritised during the first stage of the vaccine rollout to about 3000 people.
Mr Gunner said Royal Darwin Hospital would be the hub for the first phase of the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at minus 70 degrees.
“We are starting small but the most important thing is, we are starting,” Mr Gunner told reporters on Monday.
“Phase 1A covers our most vulnerable and at-risk frontline workers based on expert health advice.
“We aren’t releasing the full plan yet because nobody has the full plan yet.
“This is the largest and most complex vaccine rollout seen in the Territory, in the country, in the world.”
Mr Gunner said logistics for rolling out the vaccine to remote Indigenous communities were still being worked out.
“The Commonwealth will be a huge part of the rollout in the Territory, more so than any other jurisdiction given the unique challenges we face here,” he said.
“We will need to implement some pretty complex storage and delivery methods across the Territory.”
He said the Commonwealth’s second allocation of the vaccine should allow NT Health to deliver the second dose of the virus to the first recipients and start on the second phase of the rollout about 21 days after the first jabs are administered.
Alice Springs will become the second hub, with the second phase expected to start in mid-to-late March to health care workers not vaccinated in the first phase: police, firefighters emergency workers and Defence personnel.
Territorians aged 70 and over, Indigenous Australians over 55 and young adults with medical conditions or a disability will also be vaccinated.