All Australians over the age of 50 can receive AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines from Monday at general practice respiratory clinics and state and territory vaccination hubs.
The vaccination will be expanded to GP clinics from May 17 with 15.8 million doses available for this phase of the rollout.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the number of vaccinations in NSW had started to pick up in recent weeks and called on Australians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“People should understand the world out there at the moment is a dangerous place,” he told Sunrise. “We are still an oasis at the moment but at any time that could change.”
“I would be strongly recommending, as the NSW Health Minister, that people get their vaccine as soon as they can, subject of course to their medical advice and talking with their GP which is the preferred way of getting a vaccine if you can,” he added.
“My advice to people is, having seen what can happen, as I and others have seen what happens to people with COVID, for heaven’s sake, go and get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible.”
National COVID-19 Commissioner Jane Halton echoed Hazzard’s sentiments telling the Nine Network”We need to get on with this.”
“The only way that we get out of the pandemic is that we either get the disease or get vaccinated,” she said.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has assured the public that regulators and experts would continue to look carefully at the report of any adverse actions, including the most concerned link with blood clots.
“My clear message is that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risk. People are seeing what’s happening in India,” Kelly told ABC radio on Monday.
“An outbreak could happen in Australia so please do not hesitate,” he said. “This is not a compulsory vaccine so people have their choice but waiting until the end of the year is not advised.”
Kelly did not say much about reports that the federal government is talking with Valneva, a French biotech firm about potentially importing a new COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re continuing to have discussions with a range of companies around the world about purchasing any of those,” he said.