COVID-19 vaccine project update

COVID-19 vaccine project update

The Australian Government advises that the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to be available in Victoria from 22 February 2021 to allow us to start vaccinating the first Victorians, subject to shipping and distribution.

The rollout of other vaccines, including the Oxford/AstraZeneca (AstraZeneca) vaccine, will depend on the Australian Government’s regulatory approval, volume and the timing of doses becoming available.

During the vaccine rollout it is critical that we all continue to be COVIDSafe.

People eligible to receive priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1a include:

  • quarantine and border workers and all staff working in the hotel quarantine program
  • frontline at-risk healthcare workers, including hospital staff working in COVID-19 and suspected COVID19 wards, emergency department and intensive care unit staff, staff at general practice respiratory clinics and COVID-19 testing facilities, and ambulance staff and paramedics
  • aged care and disability care staff and residents.

COVID-19 vaccine project update

Vaccine hubs

Victorians at greatest risk of COVID-19 will initially be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the following Victorian public hospital vaccination hubs:

  • Albury Wodonga Health
  • Austin Health
  • Ballarat Health
  • Barwon Health
  • Bendigo Health
  • Goulburn Valley Health
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital
  • Monash Health
  • Western Health

In addition to these initial hospital vaccine hubs for the Pfizer vaccine, work is underway to identify sites across Victoria to ensure all Victorians can easily access other COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.

Pfizer vaccine

The first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed to four hubs initially on 22 February 2021: Austin Health, Barwon Health, Monash Health (delivered by Alfred) and Western Health.

On 25 January 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced provisional approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia.

The TGA’s decision was informed by the Advisory Committee on Vaccines – an independent group of clinical
and scientific experts with consumer representation.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia, undergoing the
required assessment and approval process and meeting high safety, efficacy and quality standards.

AstraZeneca vaccine

The Australian Government anticipates that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be available from early March 2021, although this is dependent on TGA approval and distribution of the vaccine to states and territories.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine is refrigerated at conventional cold-chain temperatures and will be available to the Victorian community.

The Victorian Department of Health (the Department) is dedicated to continuing engagement with our partners and stakeholders to rollout COVID-19 vaccines. The Australian Government is leading the expression of interest engagement process to participate in the rollout at various phases.

Safety of the vaccines

As part of Australia’s stringent regulatory assessment process for new medicines and vaccines, the TGA considers information about possible side effects. For a vaccine to be registered for use in Australia, the benefits must outweigh the risks.

The TGA continues to monitor vaccines after registration and distribution so that the Australian health system can detect and respond to any safety concerns. Australia has a strong and well-established safety monitoring system for vaccines. Reports of suspected side effects from health professionals and consumers are an essential element of this safety monitoring.

More information about how we’re monitoring COVID-19 vaccine safety, what to do if you think a patient is experiencing a side effect, and how to report adverse events is available on the TGA website


COVID-19 vaccine project update



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