More than 35,000 frontline workers in New South Wales will receive their first Covid-19 vaccine in the next three weeks, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed.
Healthcare staff and workers supporting the state’s hotel quarantine program will get a Pfizer jab in the first stage of the state’s vaccine rollout.
The Pfizer vaccine requires a second injection three weeks after the first vaccination to be effective.
Her announcement came as NSW went 31 days without a local case of coronavirus on Wednesday – although four infections were discovered in overseas travellers.
The first jabs will be administered at one of three vaccine hubs across Sydney – Westmead Hospital, Liverpool Hospital in the city’s west and the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in the inner-city.
More than 35,000 frontline workers in New South Wales will receive their first Covid-19 vaccine in the next three weeks. Pictured health workers at a drive-through testing clinic in Sydney on February 7
NSW went 31 days without a local case of coronavirus on Wednesday. Pictured: A traveller at Sydney Airport in December
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said vaccinating frontline hotel quarantine staff was a priority to reduce the chance of further outbreaks. She was forced to take cover from the rain at her Sydney press conference on Wednesday after a sudden downpour
WHO WILL GET A PFIZER COVID VACCINE IN NSW IN THE NEXT THREE WEEKS?
All workers in quarantine hotels and screening staff at Sydney Airport
NSW Police officers and security guards
Healthcare workers including Covid-19 clinic workers, ambulance staff, coronavirus pathology lab staff and patient transport workers
‘With more than 3,000 people arriving in Sydney from overseas each week, priority is being given to quarantine workers to mitigate the risk of an outbreak, and protect those protecting us.’
She urged NSW residents to remain on high alert for symptoms of the virus and not get complacent because the vaccine has arrived on Australian shores.
‘It is more important than ever before. Just because the vaccine rollout has started it doesn’t mean we can relax,’ she said.
‘We will have something to say about what happens after the next three weeks shortly. I want to thank everyone involved in the process.’
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have both been approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
On Monday 142,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Australia on a Singapore Airlines flight.
Pallets of the Pfizer vaccines – which are stored at -70C and were made in Belgium – arrived at Sydney Airport just after midday.
‘The eagle has landed,’ jubilant Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters on Monday.
‘Today is an important day. It is the next step in a careful plan based on safety, and this is about protecting Australians.’
Australia’s first 142,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine arrived in the country on Monday
Pallets of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Sydney just after midday on Monday, with photos showing them being loaded of a plane ready for transport
Mr Hunt said the vaccines will undergo ‘security and 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.’
Roughly 50,000 doses will be given to the states and territories who want to vaccinate quarantine workers as soon as possible and 30,000 will be used by the federal government for aged care residents and workers.
The remaining 62,000 vaccines will be kept aside to administer as second doses, 21 days after the first dose.
The vaccines will be temperature and quality checked before being distributed to vaccine hubs around the country
Mr Hunt said the decision to make the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia was crucial given the global supply shortage.
‘I think the two most important decisions for Australia during the course of this pandemic were closure of the border with China and the decision to invest in onshore manufacturing by CSL of the AstraZeneca vaccine,’ he said.
Hospitals were told to prepare to start vaccinations next week after the Therapeutic Goods Administration conducts batch testing on some of the first vials.
Australia has secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 10 million people.
Logistics firm DHL will help with the transportation of the vaccines using dry-ice filled boxes.