Vaccination rollout on schedule, as AstraZeneca clinics get underway

Peter Gutwein,Premier

The Tasmanian Government’s focus continues to be on protecting the health and safety of Tasmanians and with our vaccination program in full swing, Tasmania is in a good place.

Today marks the conclusion of the second week of our state-based vaccination program with 2327 Tasmanians vaccinated over the first two weeks, including frontline health workers, paramedics, quarantine and border staff including police officers.

The next delivery of the Pfizer vaccine – approximately 1170 doses – will arrive on Sunday and we will continue the vaccination program of priority groups at the RHH from Tuesday.

Pleasingly, the vaccination program continues to run on schedule and will start at the Launceston General Hospital and the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie on 15 March, as planned.

Based on our efforts this week, we continue to be on track to have more than 1100 priority workers vaccinated a week for the first three weeks of the program. Our efforts will then ramp up in Week 4 as we receive four trays of the vaccine.

I’m also pleased that Tasmania will shortly be in receipt of 6720 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

What this delivery means is that we’ll be able to vaccinate more Tasmanians sooner.

This includes AstraZeneca clinics at the Royal Hobart Hospital and other State Government settings, like the Roy Fagan Centre, in the coming week. We expect to vaccinate around 400 people with Astrazenica next week and will also open a clinic at the Mersey Community Hospital on 19 March for NW health staff.

We will also look to bring forward the start of our 1B phase of the roll-out by two weeks to the 19 March. Tasmanians in the 1B cohort include people aged 70 and over, our remaining health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, adults with underlying medical conditions and critical and high-risk workers, including defence, police, fire, emergency services (including volunteers, meat processing and fish factory workers).

We will provide more details in the next week on how people in Phase 1b can book their appointments to have their vaccinations at state-run clinics and a number of GP clinics around the State. Tasmanians don’t need to do anything just yet, we will let you know when it’s your turn and how you can book your appointment.

I’d like to thank our highly-trained, professional staff who are doing a fantastic job each and every day as we continue to roll out one of the largest health logistical exercises in our country’s history, along with every Tasmanian who has lined up to get their vaccine so far.

The vaccine is safe, effective and free – and while it won’t be the silver bullet, it will eventually help us return to a more normal way of life. So please, when it’s your turn, roll up your sleeve.

But there is still a long way to go and as always, we must continue to practice our COVID-safe behaviours.

Continue to maintain physical distancing and good hand hygiene, stay home if you’re sick, and make sure you get tested even if you have the mildest of symptoms.

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