After fears that the mandatory vaccination rules may cause havoc among the aged care sector, Health Minister Greg Hunt has revealed that nearly 100 per cent of the workforce is now fully vaccinated.
In a speech to parliament on Tuesday, Hunt said that "extraordinarily", 99.8 per cent of aged care workers have come forward to get vaccinated which is "a testament to all involved".
Australia is also set to become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, as the first major milestone in the national reopening plan of 70 per cent of the population fully vaccinated is to be reached today.
Minister Hunt confirmed the news on Wednesday in Canberra, telling reporters 70 per cent of the eligible Australian population was now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with first dose rates sitting at 85.5 per cent.
“That is continuing to grow and this is a testament to the work of Australians and it is a testament to our health professionals and everybody that has been involved in the vaccination program. So to Australians, I want to say thank you and congratulations, but keep going,” he said.
“There are many people still to come forward for first doses and there are many people still to come back for their second doses and that second dose program is providing real and significant protection.”
The health minister also confirmed the government was eyeing off the second week in November to begin its booster program, pending approval from the medical regulator.
Approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration on Pfizer’s booster shot is in the late stages and a key meeting to discuss the next steps will be held next Monday.
Moderna and AstraZeneca are yet to submit their booster applications.
Aged care residents and workers will be the first cab off the rank when booster shots are approved, with the rest of Aussies set to follow soon after.
“We are ready to commence and make sure that additional protection is provided,” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt told reporters the roll-out of the third jab will not follow the same staged approach as the initial vaccine program as Australia had enough supply to meet demand.
“There is unlikely to be the need to prioritise (population groups) because we have sufficient vaccines,” the health Minister told reporters in Canberra.
But Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Kelly stressed being double dosed was still considered fully vaccinated.
“The booster gives you a boost in your protection and certainly, as the Minister has said, ATAGI is going through that advice to government about how that should be done and we will have that very soon,” Dr Kelly said.Do you have an idea for a story?
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