More Australian states begin Covid vax rollout

Australia continued the rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine continued on Monday, with the state of Queensland administering it’s first doses to frontline hospital and medical staff.

Over the weekend, clinics in Western Australia also commenced administering the vaccine with the program expected to gain pace over the coming weeks, reports Xinhua news agency.

Covid-19 cases remained extremely low across Australia, with an estimated 97 active cases nationally, all of which were in isolation.

On Sunday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that more than 4,500 general practitioners would participate in Phase 1b of the rollout, which he described as one of the greatest logistical challenges in the country’s history.

“Phase 1b of the rollout includes vulnerable populations, such as older people and people with certain underlying conditions,” Hunt said.

“More than 1,000 general practices will commence from the week of March 22, with a rapid scale up over the following four weeks. This will ensure an efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across the country.”

Australia’s remote communities were told they would also have ready access to the vaccine through more than 130 GP-led respiratory clinics and over 300 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), Sarah Chalmers acknowledged the importance of including all Australians in the rollout plan regardless of where they live.

“The equitable distribution points across the country means that all our vulnerable patients can access the vaccine,” Chalmers said.

“ACRRM acknowledges the enormous amount of work that has been put into planning for the vaccination rollout, including for rural and remote communities.”

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