Greg Hunt promises COVID vaccine will be distributed in Australia by March 2021 – but vaccination won’t be mandatory

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The Health Minister (pictured above) has confirmed health workers and the elderly will be first in line when the country begins rolling out a free vaccine in just over three months’ time.

Speaking at ResMed, a ventilator manufacturer in Sydney, yesterday – where he also announced that Australia no longer has anyone requiring ventilation for COVID-19 – Mr Hunt said the Government remains on track to provide the first vaccines by March 2021.

“We’ll have a variety of options, and that we’re on track to deliver first vaccines, on the latest advice having just spoken with the AstraZeneca CEO for Australia last night, in March,” Mr Hunt said.

“What the results mean for the Oxford vaccine is that our plans are being reinforced, it strengthens what we’re doing.”

“So, we’re on track to deliver.”

However, Minister Hunt said the Government will not make the vaccination mandatory – though it is considering mandatory vaccination for travellers from overseas.

“We’re covered for the Australian population, and we have enough to vaccinate the Australian population three times over,” he said.

“We would expect people coming to Australia to be vaccinated or to isolate.”

On Tuesday, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the airline was considering requiring passengers to be vaccinated in order to board international flights – a plan that Mr Hunt would not comment on.

No word yet on whether vaccination will be mandatory for aged care staff, visitors and volunteers, but given it is now mandatory to have an influenza vaccination to enter an aged care home, it would seem likely.

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