Australia’s first Covid vaccine has been given to a Polish aged care resident who survived World War II, followed by Scott Morrison.
There was a round of applause as Australia’s first jab of the Pfizer was given to Jane Malysiak, 84, who emigrated to Australia from Poland when she was 13.
Shortly after the jab was administered to Ms Malysiak, the prime minister received his vaccination on Sunday morning.
‘It is an exciting day for Australia. We have been planning and preparing for many, many months and now we have got to this point where we can kick it all off today,’ Mr Morrison told reporters at Castle Hill Medical Centre.
Mr Morrison joins the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and the Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan in getting the Pfizer jab, along with a small group of aged care staff.
There was a round of applause as Australia’s first jab of the Pfizer was given to Jane Malysiak, 84, who emigrated to Australia from Poland
Shortly after the jab was administered to Ms Malysiak, the prime minister received his vaccination
From Monday, the main roll out will begin and will see 678,000 Australians on the frontline of the pandemic getting their first round of vaccinations.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s highest leaders being among the first people to get vaccinated will instill public confidence in the vaccine.
‘There was a very strong focus on the need for key leaders, not the parliament, not the cabinet, not even the leadership group, but a cross-party group, to provide that confidence (to Australians),’ he told ABC’s Insiders program.
‘Research shows that people want to see that if we believe it’s safe, then that will give them greater confidence. That has been a view in many places around the world.’
A small group of aged care residents, staff and frontline health care workers are also set to get the jab today
From Monday, 678,000 Australians on the frontline of the pandemic will get their first round of vaccinations. Pictured: a man getting the jab in Ireland
Mr Hunt said Australia is ‘about to embark on one of the most important public health initiatives’ in the nation’s history.
He confirmed that he and the head of the Department of Health and former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy will get the alternative AstraZeneca jab at a later date.
Mr Hunt wants as many as people as possible to be vaccinated, but declined to put a figure on what percentage he wanted to see.
‘We’ve provisioned so that … every Australian has access to vaccines. We’ve secured 150 million doses of a range of vaccines,’ he said.
Two doses are required at least three weeks apart and the vaccine must be stored and transported at -70C.
A flying squad of 500 nurse immunisers will be dispatched around the nation to vaccinate aged care and disability residents.
Mr Morrison says federal and state health officers are monitoring whether to make shots compulsory for some workers.
The roll out comes a day after thousands of protesters attended anti-vaccination rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Simultaneous protests were also held in Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Albany.
Victorian police used pepper spray on some protesters when they moved beyond cordons and at times, appeared to lose control of the crowd, an AAP photographer on scene said.
While some people were covered in pepper spray, crowds chanted, ‘freedom, freedom’.
Two doses are required at least three weeks apart and the vaccine must be stored and transported at -70C. Pictured: a simulation of the COVID-19 vaccine process in Sydney on February 19
The rally started peacefully but as speakers addressed the crowd ‘people started getting pretty fired up’, the photographer said.
Speakers made comments such as ‘God’s on our side’ and ‘it’s a fight between good and evil’.
At Sydney’s Hyde Park, controversial celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans was among the hundreds of protesters.
Evans, who has recently been banned from social media, addressed the crowd in Sydney.
Protesters marched with placards with slogans such as ‘herd immunity of vaccines is a scam’ and ‘your body, your choice’.
This post was first published on DailyMail.