All you need to know about Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Summary

  • After months of hard work from scientists worldwide, COVID-19 vaccines have reached the people, giving hope for a better tomorrow.
  • Several countries have started the vaccination program, and Australia would soon begin its program after charting the vaccination plan.
  • Therapeutic Goods Administration has provided a provisional determination to Sydney-based Biocelect Pty Ltd concerning CoV2373, the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Further, the Australian regulatory body is expected to give the green light to Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine soon.

After thousands of hours of research effort put in by scientists globally, the world finally has a COVID-19 vaccine, giving hope to the people for a better future. Many countries worldwide have started the vaccination program, including the US, Spain, The UK, Germany, India, France, and Italy, among others.

In Australia, the process has not started yet. However, Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine approval can happen soon as per the head of the advisory committee which will pave the way for vaccination program initiation.

Prof. Allen Cheng, the Chairperson, has completed the review of the vaccine data for TGA post the conference related to COVID-19 vaccine on 15 January. At present, the final approval is pending from TGA.

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On 20 January 2021, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved a provisional determination to Biocelect Pty Ltd (in the best interests of Novavax Inc.) concerning the coronavirus Vaccine, NVX-CoV2373. It implies that TGA has agreed that Biocelect would submit an application for temporary registration of the vaccine in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Provisional determination is the initial move in the process. However, it does not mean that vaccine would be provisionally granted for addition in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Vaccines for each person in Australia

The Australian Government would provide the vaccine free of cost to all the citizens residing in the country, permanent residents, and temporary Visa holders as per the COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Hospital hubs throughout the country

  • In the first step, COVID-19 vaccine doses would be given to priority groups in 30 to 50 hospital hubs located in the country's urban and rural region.
  • From these hubs, vaccination teams would go out to aged care, and disability care facilities and the teams would be under the Australian Government's supervision.
  • As the vaccine's roll-out would continue, other locations can get the vaccine at GP respiratory clinics, General Practices that meet specific requirements, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, plus state-run vaccination hospitals.
  • When the vaccine become available on a broader scale, the Government has plans to include workplace vaccination sites and community pharmacies that fulfils certain conditions.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Vaccination in Australia to be completed by 2021 end

The next question which spontaneously pops into mind is how the vaccine would reach the initial group. The response to this is that the Government has provided specific steps that need to be followed. We would look into each category under the initial priority group:

Residents belonging to Aged care & disability care

The steps include:

  • Advise facilities of priority groups, places and roll-out plans.
  • Patient permission coordinated.
  • Vaccination date(s) planned.
  • Vaccination doses obtained for usage.

Workers at the Residential aged care and disability care:

  • Facility staff to inform of priority groups, sites as well as roll-out proposals.
  • Plan the initial and 2nd dosages by the facility.
  • Checklist comprising staff figures on vaccination date(s) to notify the requirement of the number of doses.
  • Vaccination dates planned.
  • Vaccination doses obtained for usage.

Priority frontline healthcare people

  • It would be the responsibility of the states and territories and peak bodies to inform priority groups, places, & roll-out proposals.
  • The vaccination date(s) planned should be communicated to people.
  • Schedule and doses need to be organised within state governments to line up with shifts & rosters.
  • Vaccination doses are provided based on steps including eligibility proof, consent, and clinical assessment conducted on check-in at vaccination center.

Priority quarantine and border staff

  • Advise important groups, sites, and roll-out proposals.
  • Programming coordinated via state government and communicated to people.
  • The individual appears hub for vaccination at the informed time by the employer if appropriate.
  • Vaccination doses collected according to steps like eligibility proof, consent, clinical examination conducted on check-in at a vaccination center.

A Glance at the Vaccine Policy

Vaccination Policy outlines the responsibility of the Australian Government to:

  • Select and purchase safe & efficient vaccines supported by the TGA.
  • Organise the secure transportation of vaccine doses from suppliers to the storage as well as the administration places.
  • Prioritising the population groups mote at risk for vaccination, as instructed by ATAGI.
  • Specify the kinds of locations where the immunisation process should happen.

It would be the responsibility of the state and territory government to develop the COVID-19 vaccination implementation plans according to the national COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and as per the Australian government expectations.

Australian Government, along with the state and territory governments would arrange vaccination’s easy access for aged care facilities, Indigenous communities, and disability group residences.

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