Queensland plans to start vaccinating 100 frontline healthcare workers on the Gold Coast against coronavirus on Monday as it takes delivery of the jabs.
The state government says workers at the Gold Coast University Hospital will receive their first jab as long as the Commonwealth delivers the Pfizer vaccine this weekend.
Workers at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital will get their initial shot on Wednesday, followed by more healthcare workers in Cairns on Friday.
Then up to 10,000 people per week will start being vaccinated over the next month.
“This is exciting news. It’s something that I know that everyone in Australia has been waiting for and Queenslanders are waiting for,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
She said six hubs in north and south Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Cairns would be administering the vaccine.
The premier urged people to wait until they are invited to receive the jab so the government can prioritise the roll out.
Queensland Health is planning a phased delivery starting with 27,000 frontline quarantine and healthcare workers, then police and emergency workers, followed by vulnerable people with severe underlying conditions and those aged over 70.
The Commonwealth will run a separate, parallel rollout of the vaccine in public and private aged care homes in the state.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young expects the general population to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October.
“No one will be missed here. Anyone 18 years of age or over will be able to be vaccinated, except for very few small cohorts … by the end of October. That is our plan,” she said.
Dr Young said pregnant women would be advised against receiving the vaccine at this stage.
She said pregnant women problem shouldn’t be working in hotel quarantine so that’s unlikely to be an issue at this stage.
Ms Palaszczuk, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Dr Young will all get the jab, but they will be among the second group to receive it.
“I don’t want to take a vaccine at the moment away from a frontline hotel quarantine worker and Dr Young feels very strongly about that,” the premier said.
Dr Young said she was uncertain whether people who were vaccinated would be allowed to enter Queensland if they had been in hotspots over the coming months.
“Whether or not we have border arrangements, we’ll have to wait and see. Let’s just get this vaccine out to as many people as we can as quickly as possible.”
Almost 5000 people were tested for COVID-19 in the previous 24-hour reporting period, with no new cases recorded in the state.