Today marks 365 days since the fateful day of January 25th, 2020, when the first case of Coronavirus was found in Australia. Thankfully, today also marks a day that the government has announced the approval of the Pfizer vaccine and has confirmed vaccinations will begin in a mere few weeks.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration approved Pfizer and our health minister, Greg Hunt, says that the majority of Australia should be vaccinated against the virus by October.
“The commencement remains on track for February, as the Prime Minister has said. The completion remains on track for October,” he said.
However, Scott Morrison has warned that international travel will likely be off the cards and things won’t return to normal immediately after vaccination.
“It is important to understand that once the vaccine starts, that doesn’t mean you can jump on a plane to Bali the next day. It doesn’t mean that the masks disappear if that is what the public health arrangements are in a particular state or territory or the quarantine arrangements for return into Australia will end or anything like this,” he said.
“This will build, it will start at small scale, it will build up and it will happen over a period of time as we have outlined over the course of this year. Of itself, it is not a silver bullet because there are still limitations to what these vaccines can do.”
Because of the vaccine approval, there’s a lot more information available today about what we can expect when getting vaccinated. The two dose Pfizer vaccine will be available to those 16 and older – previously it was specified only 18 years old and could receive the vaccine.
The vaccine wasn’t allowed into Australia until the official approval was received, which arrived this morning. The drug can now be shipped from overseas.
“It is a year today since the first case of COVID-19 in Australia. What an extraordinary year it has been over these past 12 months,” he said.
“A year on from that fateful day, Australia, we know, has done better and managed this together, working together better than almost any other country in the world today.
“I have a simple message to Australia, thank you Australia. Thank you that you have put us in a situation that is the envy of most countries in the world today.”