Australia

Coronavirus vaccine will roll out in Australia in March

Coronavirus vaccine will be rolled out in Australia in MARCH – four months after it’s available overseas – and there’ll be no fines for refusing the jab

Australia is on track to roll out the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine in March, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday.

The injection will be optional and the government has no plans to apply the ‘no jab, no pay’ rule that stops parents getting some government benefits if they refuse to vaccinate their child against other illnesses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has ‘great confidence’ in Australia’s regulators to make sure any vaccine is completely safe before it is approved.

The jab will be handed to health workers and the vulnerable first including the elderly and Indigenous Australians.

It will then be offered to the general public with all Australians who want the jab expected to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

Australia is on track to roll out the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine in March, Health Minister Greg Hunt (pictured) said on Thursday

The UK became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead to the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday, paving the way for vaccinations to start next week. 

But it has only been approved for emergency use on vulnerable people because the Covid-19 is so rampant in the UK.

Australia does not have a way to approve emergency use, meaning full approval will be required. This is expected in late January or February as scientists pour of trial data.

Mr Morrison said Australia was in no rush because the Covid-19 situation in Australia is ‘very stable’ with only a handful of cases.

‘In Australia, we are in a very strong position and that enables us to get this right,’ he said. 

Australian regulators are considering three vaccines for approval, with data from final-stage trials expected to be released in full this month. 

John Skerritt, deputy secretary of the Therapeutic Goods Administration – the agency which approves drugs and vaccines – said his team will pour over the data over Christmas.

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