It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Coronavirus vaccines are being administered overseas and Australian regulators are expected to approve their use here soon. And now, we know who will get first dibs of the COVID-19 vaccine here.
With the AstraZeneca vaccine expected to be rolled out in March and the Pfizer candidate soon after, the Herald-Sun reports that the government has decided to administer the vaccine in reverse age order.
Here’s who’s first in line for the COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia
Australia’s population will be split into 12 separate age groups. Those in the oldest group, people aged over 70, will get the vaccine first.
Then, those aged 65-70. And so on all the way down to children under the age of 18, who are not expected to receive a vaccination until after 2021 as the vaccine has not been approved for their age group yet.
While Australia has secured the rights to more than a hundred million COVID-19 doses, there will be only 5 million doses at the to begin with. It’s pretty safe to assume that demand will outstrip supply.
Earlier this week, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has reportedly set priorities for the vaccine.
These are those who are at an increased risk of developing or dying from COVID-19, those people who are placed at higher risk of infection (such as health care workers), and those who works in critical services.
Following these priority cases, the vaccination scheme will then broaden out to the general population in age group order.
Each vaccine requires two shots some time apart to fully protect the patient from COVID-19. Immunity from the vaccine doesn’t kick in until a few weeks after the shots.
There’s still some uncertainty around how long the vaccine’s effects will last for. There may be need for future shots to boost immunity.
The final plan will be announced by the government’s vaccine advisory group when the vaccines are officially approved in January.
Frankly, developing a vaccine in less than a year is a miracle. But the next hurdle is how quickly we can ensure everyone has access to one. And it’s no mean feat.