Scott Morrison's plan to vaccinate all Australians by the end of 2021

The prime minister used a speech to the National Press Club to outline an ambitious plan to vaccinate the nation for COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP

Scott Morrison says vaccinating 26 million Australians by the end of the year will be one of the nation's largest ever logistical exercises.

The prime minister used a speech at the National Press Club on Monday to lay out the government's plan to complete the vaccination program by the end of the year.

He announced an extra $1.9 billion, taking the vaccine program to $6.3 billion, for the workforce involved in the rollout of the jabs through GPs, pharmacies and thousands of other approved centres.

Mr Morrison said CSL's Melbourne manufacturing plant alone should produce enough of the AstraZeneca vaccine to cover the nation.

But the recently approved Pfizer vaccine will still be the first rolled out from late February.

All Australians to be vaccinated this year, PM says

However, he says even with the vaccine "there can be no let-up in the three vital suppression measures that served Australia well in 2020 and must be the focus of continuous improvement in 2021".

Those vital suppression measures are international border controls and quarantine; testing, tracing and hotspot management; and physical distancing and sound hygiene practices.

"In 2021, these suppression measures, which must be exercised in a balanced way to protect jobs and livelihoods, will be complemented by the COVID-19 vaccines," Mr Morrison said.

"This will be one of the largest logistics exercises ever seen in Australia's history, we will be vaccinating 26 million people, having secured over 140 million doses, enough to cover the Australian population several times over."

Under the vaccine strategy all Australians will be offered the opportunity to be vaccinated by October 2021.

Involved in the roll out will be the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australian Medical Association and logistics companies including DHL and Linfox, with GPs and community pharmacies administering the jab.

In addition, a special surge workforce is being put in place to ensure it gets to every hard-to-reach area.

Paul Kelly defends AstraZeneca vaccine's efficacy

Australia has no local COVID-19 cases and more than 90 per cent of the jobs lost in the recession have returned.

However, Mr Morrison said while the comeback was "gathering pace" the virus was morphing into new and more virulent strains, so the nation must remain vigilant.

He again signalled the government was unlikely to continue the JobKeeper wage subsidy beyond its end of March cut off, saying all emergency measures would be "temporary and accompanied by a clear fiscal exit strategy".

"You can't run the Australian economy on taxpayers' money forever," he said.

The Treasury department is analysing tourism industry data and talks are underway with tourism leaders to consider targeted assistance, with many businesses hard hit by the closure to international visitors.

The resumption of quarantine-free travel from New Zealand will also provide a modest boost.

Treasury analysis shows economic support measures are expected to result in activity being five per cent higher in 2020-21 and 4.5 per cent higher in 2021-22 compared to if no support was provided.

However, the bumpy nature of the recovery was illustrated by Western Australia deciding to push regions in and around Perth and into a five-day hard lockdown after a hotel quarantine security guard attended more than a dozen venues while infected with COVID-19.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania

 


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Published 1 February 2021 at 6:00am, updated 1 February 2021 at 2:26pm
Source: AAP - SBS