The state that could rollout vaccines ‘sooner than expected’

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the majority of the state could be vaccinated against coronavirus within just months.

While the federal government's target to have the nation largely vaccinated by October, Ms Berejiklian said the arrival of vaccines ahead of schedule could see the rollout proceed at a faster rate than predicted.

"We're hopeful that if some of the supplies that we hadn't anticipated are coming in sooner than expected, it could be within months that large cohorts of the public are invited to have the vaccine," she told ABC radio.

Addressing the media on Monday as frontline quarantine and healthcare workers received their jabs, Ms Berejiklian said current vaccine arrivals had "exceeded expectation".

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks with the media at The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Vaccination Hub on February 22, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. The first phase of the vaccination program includes up to 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for frontline healthcare workers, quarantine personnel and aged care centre residents and employees. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Gladys Berejiklian is confident NSW can roll out the vaccine ahead of schedule. Source: Getty

She said if those supplies continued, NSW will look at bringing its timetable forward.

More doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine have arrived in Australia as the early stages of the jab rollout continue.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed another 166,000 doses of Pfizer have landed while another 120,000 will arrive next week. The federal government has obtained 20 million doses of the vaccine.

And while the vaccine rollout is at the hands of the federal government who will look to see a collective push nationally, Ms Berejiklian is the first premier to commit to a faster rollout.

Most Australians will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, with doses either made in Victoria or arriving from overseas.

Mr Hunt said doses will begin to arrive in early March.

As more Australians receive vaccines against coronavirus, authorities are looking at how and when restrictions can be eased.

Expectations are rising more Australians will be allowed to return home from overseas in coming months as the vaccine rollout progresses.

About 40,000 Australians are seeking to return, but arrival caps and limited quarantine capacity mean they cannot do so.

Yet overseas travel could be "years away" even with a successful vaccine rollout, according to two of the nation's top epidemiologists.

Nathan Grills, a professor and public health physician at the University of Melbourne, and Tony Blakely, a Professor of Epidemiology at the university's School of Population and Global Health, explained in an article for the Australian Financial Review the federal government's reluctance to accept low levels of transmission in the community could keep the borders closed for longer than needed.

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