Free Covid-19 Vaccine for Australians

It’s been a year since the very first COVID-19 breakout in Wuhan and yet
we have no idea how long the pandemic will last. But, the good news is
the vaccine is on the way. The UK has become the first country to approve
the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use. Margaret Keenan became
the first person in the world to be given the Covid-19 vaccine in the UK
last week.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the work done in the UK will
give Australia and the world very important data, lessons, both on the
rollout and the efficacy of this particular vaccine but vaccines more
generally. Before the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for
use in Australia, it must pass the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
assessment and approval processes.

“I have great confidence in the Therapeutic Goods Administration to be
able to critically assess those and to advise the minister and me, and the
premiers and chief ministers about the safety of those vaccines,” said Scott

Australia has invested more than $3.3 billion for the supply of COVID-19
vaccines. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government’s
COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy had now secured access to
four COVID-19 vaccines and over 134 million doses. According to the
Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, these are the four leading
contenders: AstraZeneca, CSL, Novavax, and Pfizer/BioNTech. The
Novavax and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are expected to be available in
Australia from early to mid-2021, subject to approval by the Therapeutic
Goods Administration (TGA) for use in Australia.

Federal Health Minister of Australia, Greg Hunt says Australia is on their
track to schedule the first round of vaccinations in March 2021. “We are

still hopeful that if we receive a full submission in a week or two, by
January or the beginning of February, well ahead of the March date that
the government has set, we will be in a position to approve one or more,”
he said.

Based on the vaccination policy in Australia, the first group to get the first
vaccine jab will be people who have an increased risk of developing severe
disease from COVID-19, people at an increased risk of exposure to
COVID-19, and people working in critical services.

The COVID-19 vaccination will be free for all Medicare-eligible
Australians and all visa-holders, excluding visa subclasses 771 (Transit),
600 (Tourist stream), 651 (eVisitor), and 601 (Electronic Travel Authority).