Elderly Australians, Healthcare Workers First for Jab When Available

By AAP
October 8, 2020 Updated: October 8, 2020

Elderly Australians, people with chronic illness and healthcare workers would be first in line once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd reassured Australians a vaccine won’t be made available until one is safe and effective at providing an immune response to the virus.

There would 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 Facebook.

“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 spending more than $2 billion towards both 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.

Meanwhile, the border battles continue between NSW and Queensland.

Queensland has set a strict benchmark of 28 days of unlinked community transmission before NSW residents can visit.

NSW recorded eight locally acquired cases on Thursday and was given a strict deadline to investigate them before the border clock resets.

But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk – who is in the midst of a state election campaign – has muddied the waters by saying it won’t automatically occur.

Asked about reopening the border, she said she was “not ruling out anything”.

Of the eight new cases in NSW, one is being investigated while the rest are linked to a known case or cluster.

Victoria has recorded another 11 cases of coronavirus on Thursday but no deaths, keeping the national toll at 897.

The cases take Melbourne’s all important 14-day case average down to 9.7.

The city needs a 14-day average of five or fewer cases and no more than five mystery cases to ease restrictions on October 19.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says it is “highly unlikely that nothing will change” by that date.

“There will be some changes, the exact nature of those changes we will need to look at,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Rebecca Gredley in Canberra