PRIORITY: The Australian Government has announced it's priority groups of whom will get the first approved COVID-19 vaccine once the medication is deemed safe. Photo: Alison Paterson
PRIORITY: The Australian Government has announced it's priority groups of whom will get the first approved COVID-19 vaccine once the medication is deemed safe. Photo: Alison Paterson

When will we see a COVID-19 vaccine released here?

WHICH people on the Northern Rivers will receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine and when is yet to be confirmed.

But it seems likely that people who are especially vulnerable due to age or medical conditions, first responders, frontline and essential workers and those in the aged-care sector will be among the first to get the jab, which could be ready in late January or early February 2021.

Adjunct Professor John Skerritt - Deputy Secretary for Health Products Regulation at the Department of Health, Head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, spoke with ABC radio about the vaccine on Wednesday morning.

He said the TGA is waiting on three companies, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, Moderna and Pfizer for their detailed clinical data after they were given provisional approval.

"We anticipate the vaccines will be available at the end of the first quarter of 2021," he said.

"We are still to receive the full clinical data for any of these companies but expect to give our approval either late January or February."

Prof Skerritt said the fact health regulators in the US and the UK are moving more quickly reflects the "desperate situation" of the pandemic in their countries and they are using "emergency use authorisations".

Prof Skerritt said however, at this stage the vaccine's lifespan is not yet known.

"We don't know if they will last six months, five years or forever," he said.

"That's why Australia and most other countries have invested in several candidates."

He said plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine across the country are "quite advanced and the is in the hands of the (health) Minister and Prime Minister".

"We have been working the commercial sector and states and territories," he said.

It is understood it will take all of 2021 to vaccinate the entire population as a second jab may be required.

"It's a huge challenge," he said.

A NSW Health spokesman said NSW has undertaken extensive planning, which involves multiple contingencies and scenarios, for the rollout of a vaccine in the context of a pandemic and is already well underway.

"NSW Health is working closely with the Federal Government in relation to these plans," he said.

"NSW Health planning is underpinned by a strong public health network, existing

successful immunisation programs and existing mass vaccination plans."



Everything you can do in NSW from Friday

Everything you can do in NSW from Friday

A large number of virus rules are being lifted in NSW on Friday

Cherished dog disappears on the Spirit of Tasmania

Premium Content Cherished dog disappears on the Spirit of Tasmania

It’s every owner’s worst nightmare – losing a pet while travelling.

Relief for Sydney: COVID restrictions eased

Premium Content Relief for Sydney: COVID restrictions eased

COVID NSW: Berejiklian eases Sydney restrictions