Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health
The Royal Hobart Hospital is in the final stages of preparation for the start of COVID-19 vaccination program, which will commence in Hobart next week before extending statewide in March.
Tasmanians have worked hard throughout COVID-19 and taken action to keep themselves and others safe when it mattered most. There is no doubt that the greatest safeguard in the fight against COVID will be the vaccination.
While it will not be the silver bullet, it will be our strongest shield to keeping our community and loved ones safe, and importantly returning to a way of life where there are less restrictions and more freedom.That is why I urge Tasmanians to please roll up your sleeves when it’s your turn, because by protecting yourself, you’re protecting your loved ones and the community.
Bookings commenced for the clinic yesterday, and vaccination staff at the hospital have been undertaking final training and exercises to prepare for the delivery of the first delivery. The vaccine roll out is welcome news for Tasmania, which has never seen a program as large and complex as this rolled out so quickly.
The first phase of the vaccination program will target people who are at heightened risk of getting COVID or getting very sick from it. These are quarantine and border staff, and specific groups of front-line healthcare workers.
Aged and disability care residents and staff will also be vaccinated in the coming weeks through the Commonwealth Government vaccination program.
Once the early phases of the roll out are completed, the vaccination program will be expanded to include other groups of the community, as per the Commonwealth’s guidelines. There will be further detail and information provided publicly on these groups once finalised on expert advice.
Importantly, the vaccines are safe, effective and free, and I encourage everybody listen to the experts - not only for yourself but for your family, friends and the entire Tasmanian community.
Getting ready for the roll out of the vaccine has been a momentous task for everyone involved in the Tasmanian Health Service, and I thank all the incredible staff who have been working tirelessly to have the new clinic ready to go and ensure the vaccine can be rolled out as quickly as possible.
However, it’s important to remember the vaccine is not a silver bullet, and Tasmanians must continue to follow COVID-safe guidelines.
Remember to maintain physical distancing and good hand hygiene, stay home if you’re sick, and make sure you get tested even if you have the mildest of symptoms. For more information on the vaccine, visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au