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Elderly, healthcare workers among first for jab

Elderly Australians, people with chronic illness and healthcare workers will be first in line once a coronavirus vaccine is available.

Deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd reassured Australians a vaccine will not be made available until one is safe and effective at providing an immune response to the virus.

There will likely be prioritisation for who gets it first.

“Obviously people who are most at risk will be at the top of the list,” Kidd said in a video posted to social media.

“This includes our elderly population, it includes people with chronic diseases which put them at increased risk if infected with COVID-19.

“But it also includes the people who provide care to those people. Our wonderful aged care workers, our healthcare workers working right across the sectors in hospitals, in general practices, in pharmacies and in other community health settings.”

The federal government is putting more than $2 billion towards local and international vaccine development.

A University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is in the third phase of trials and is considered one of the best hopes in the world, with regulatory approval expected to be sought shortly.

A University of Queensland/CSL version is on track for mid-year.

Tuesday’s federal budget forecasts rely on a coronavirus vaccine being found by late 2021.

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