Scott Morrison will be one of the first people to get the coronavirus vaccination on Sunday, a day earlier than the official rollout of Australia’s largest ever vaccination program finally begins.
Heath Minister Greg Hunt said the prime minister will join the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and the Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan in getting the Pfizer jab, along with two aged care residents and care staff.
“It is about confidence,” Mr Hunt told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.
“Research shows that people want to see that if we believe it’s safe, then that will give them greater confidence.”
Mr Hunt confirmed that he and the head of the Department of Health and former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy will get the alternative AstraZeneca jab at a later date.
He wants as many as people as possible to be vaccinated, but declined to put a figure on what percentage he wanted to see.
“We’ve provisioned so that … every Australian has access to vaccines. We’ve secured 150 million doses of a range of vaccines,” he said.
The first jabs come after hundreds of people took to the streets on Saturday to protest against having the vaccination.
There were multiple arrests at a protest in Melbourne, while simultaneous protests were held in all major cities and regional centres Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Albany.
Even so, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey, men (76 per cent) are more likely than women (71 per cent) to agree or strongly agree with getting the jab.
There is also stronger support for it among people aged over 65 than younger Australians.
Meanwhile, the one-way travel bubble with New Zealand resumed on Sunday which allows people to travel to Australia without having to quarantine for 14 days.
But if they have been in Auckland in the two weeks before departing, they will need a negative coronavirus test. That condition will remain until March 1.
The travel bubble was swiftly halted last week after an outbreak of COVID-19 in Auckland.
Prof Kelly said briefings from New Zealand showed the recent cases now posed a low risk.
“We will continue to move quickly to protect Australians as circumstances change, but we will always endeavour to move just as quickly when those situations are brought under control, or otherwise resolve,” he said.
There were no locally acquired COVID-19 cases reported in Victoria for the second consecutive day after three people in the same family were recorded COVID-positive last week.