When will I get the COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine?

The coronavirus vaccine rollout is now expected to begin in Australia this February, almost six weeks earlier than the Government had originally expected. Instead of beginning inoculations at the end of March, people could start getting vaccinated mid-to-late-February.

Here's the current plan for who's getting it first and when you can expect to get the vaccine.

When will I get the vaccine?

This depends on a few things including your age, what job you have and whether you have any other medical conditions.

The Government has broken down the vaccine rollout into what it's calling five "phases" that spell out different groups in order of priority.

Phase 1a would see 678,000 people, including quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, and aged care and disability staff and residents get the Pfizer-BioNTech jab from mid-February to the end of March.

People in this group will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the Prime Minister hopes will be approved by the end of the month.

Phase 1b is a significantly larger rollout in which 6 million people including anyone aged over 70, other healthcare workers, younger adults with an underlying health condition and high-risk workers will get a vaccine.

Phase 2a covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are between 18-54, along with Australians over 50 years old and other critical high-risk workers.

Phase 2b is the remainder of the adult population, plus anyone from the previous phases that have been missed out.

Phase 3, the final phase, will be for children but only "if recommended" given the evidence that they don't transmit the disease like adults.

 

Where do I get it?

The first round of the vaccine will be available at 30-50 hospital sites, known as "hospital hubs" in both metropolitan and regional areas of the country.

The hubs will manage the "cold chain storage" of the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.

But exactly where those locations will be is still being worked out with the states and territories.

Doses will also be delivered in residential aged care and disability care facilities.

The Government's ultimately planning on expanding to more than 1,000 places where people can get a jab which will include GPs, vaccination clinics and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services.

How many times do I have to get it?

You have to get two doses of the vaccine for it to be most effective

Former Chief Medical Officer and head of the Health Department Professor Brendan Murphy said that's what the trials showed worked best.

"Two doses of the vaccine roughly a month apart, obviously you can have a bit of slippage either way," he said.

The vaccine is going to be rolled out nationwide in five phases.

Professor Murphy said authorities will get in touch with people to remind them they need to get their second jab and work was underway to make sure it was as easy as possible.

"So much planning is happening at the moment … so it works smoothly from the minute we start," he said.

What if I don't want to have it?

Vaccination will not be mandatory, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, but will be heavily encouraged.

Some businesses, like Qantas and other airlines, have flagged that it'll only let people who can prove they've had the vaccination board international flights.

And it could be a condition of re-entry to Australia, according to the Government's vaccination strategy.

 

Will everyone take the COVID-19 vaccine?

"There may however be circumstances where the Australian Government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination," it said.

As to whether people in other professions, like aged care or health care, will have to have a vaccine to go to work is still unclear.

"That is an important discussion for the public health and safety with the states and territories who are responsible for public health," the Prime Minister said.

"I'm going through the processes that are necessary to protect public health and safety in the country and I'm doing that collaboratively."

Sources: Australian government, ABC News, 7 News

Click here for the latest government information on COVID-19 vaccination.

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