Australia’s first Covid vaccine was given to an aged care resident who survived World War II, followed by Scott Morrison ahead of the full launch on Monday.
There was cheering and clapping as Jane Malysiak, 84, who emigrated to Australia from war-torn Poland when she was 13, received the Pfizer vaccine shot.
The prime minister, donning an Australian flag face mask, also received his vaccination on Sunday morning at Castle Hill Medical Centre in Sydney’s north.
Mr Morrison sat next to a gleeful Ms Malysiak as she received her jab, which she described as ‘lovely’.
While posing for photos, Mr Morrison encouraged Ms Malysiak to give a peace sign for the cameras, telling her it means ‘V for vaccine’.
But Ms Malysiak hilariously botched the peace sign, and inadvertently threw up the universal sign for ‘up yours’ by turning her hand the other way around.
Ms Malysiak hilariously botched the peace sign, and inadvertently threw up the universal sign for ‘up yours’ by turning her hand the other way around
Photographers, health workers and reporters erupted into laughter, before Mr Morrison quickly pushed Ms Malysiak’s hand down, jokingly telling her ‘always front, always front’
Mr Morrison sat next to a gleeful Ms Malysiak as she received her jab, which she described as ‘lovely’
Photographers, health workers and reporters erupted into laughter, before Mr Morrison quickly pushed Ms Malysiak’s hand down, jokingly telling her ‘always front, always front’.
Ms Malysiak was in good spirits throughout the process of getting her jab, telling nurses she was happy to be receiving the vaccine.
Mr Morrison said today’s vaccine roll out shows Australians they can rely on the nation’s medical experts.
‘It is an exciting day for Australia. We have been planning and preparing for many, many months and now we have got to this point where we can kick it all off today,’ Mr Morrison told reporters.
‘We need to start with those who are most vulnerable and are on the frontline and that’s why they will be taking the first vaccines today.’
Mr Morrison joined the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and the Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan in getting the Pfizer jab on Sunday, along with a small group of aged care staff.
The prime minister, donning an Australian flag face mask, also received his vaccination on Sunday morning
Jesse Li (right), the doctor who gave Mr Morrison his injection, said it was the ‘honour and privilege of my life’
Mr Morrison joined the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and the Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan in getting the Pfizer jab on Sunday, along with a small group of aged care staff
Mr Morrison heaped praise on Ms Malysiak, telling the press she is a ‘great Australian’ who is now a part of Australian medical history.
‘Jane Malysiak has seen many historic days in Australia over the course of her more than 80 years of life,’ he said.
‘She grew up in Poland in the Depression … she went through the Second World War, she came to Australia, she built a wonderful life here and is still living it gloriously today.
‘She’s seen more things than most of us have, and she’s taking part in what is a very historic day for our country, and I want to thank you, Jane, for being with us here today.’
Before getting their jabs, Mr Morrison and Ms Malysiak chatted about her love of gardening.
‘I’ve started doing some gardening in the nursing home,’ she proudly told the prime minister.
Mr Morrison thanked the 84-year-old for getting vaccinated before meeting another aged care resident who was also receiving his jab.
John Healy, 86, told reporters: ‘It’s alright, you hardly know you’re getting it.’
‘It’s just a little prick and that’s it,’ he said. ‘It means I now can go out, without any worries.’
An elated Mr Morrison was the last of 12 people to receive the jab on Sunday.
A small group of aged care residents, staff and frontline health care workers are also set to get the jab today
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits the CSL vaccine manufacturing facility which will make the AstraZeneca vaccine
‘You all thought there’s be tatts there, didn’t you?’ he quipped as the arm of his T-shirt was lifted by a doctor to deliver the vaccine.
‘I’m ready to go, just like the country.’
Jesse Li, the doctor who gave Mr Morrison his injection, said it was the ‘honour and privilege of my life’.
‘I’m glad I got the job done, I was a bit nervous inside. You know, my heart was pounding,’ Dr Lee told said.
‘But at the end of the day, he’s one of the first recipients of hopefully everyone in Australia.
‘I’m glad he was happy to do it in front of the cameras and inspire confidence (in the vaccine)’.
From Monday, the main roll out will begin and will see 678,000 Australians on the frontline of the pandemic getting their first round of vaccinations.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s highest leaders being among the first people to get vaccinated will instill public confidence in the vaccine.
‘There was a very strong focus on the need for key leaders, not the parliament, not the cabinet, not even the leadership group, but a cross-party group, to provide that confidence (to Australians),’ he told ABC’s Insiders program.
Everything Aussies need to know about the vaccine roll out
* What about Australians under the age of 16?
The Pfizer vaccination approval does not cover people under the age of 16, but it has no upper age limit. The medical regulator says the benefits of the vaccination for people over the age of 85, or those who are frail, should be weighed against potential risk of even a mild response.
Age limits for the AstraZeneca vaccination will be outlined in the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval.
* How many do we get?
Both vaccines are two doses – so Australians will get two at least 21 days apart. They will need to be from the same company.
* Where will they be administered?
General practitioners and pharmacies have put their hand up to be involved, and there’s expected to be pop-up clinics at current COVID-19 testing centres and hospitals.
* How can Australians prove they’ve been vaccinated?
Jabs will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Certificates proving vaccinations will then be available either digitally or in hard copy. The government says this might be needed for interstate and overseas travel.
* How many vaccines has Australia ordered?
Australia has secured more than 150 million doses of various vaccines, including almost 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the vast majority to be manufactured in Melbourne. As well as more than 51 million from Novavax.
WHICH VACCINES AUSTRALIA HAS SECURED:
20 million doses – enough to vaccinate 10 million Australians
Australia has ordered 51 million doses but it is still in the trial phase
University of Oxford:
53.8 million doses
The Australian Government has joined the COVAX Facility as part of a global effort to support rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This participation enables us to purchase vaccine doses for Australia as they become available
This includes the Moderna vaccine, CureVac, Inovio and others
University of Queensland:
Australia had ordered 51 million doses. However, the deal has been scrapped after trial participants returned false positive results for HIV
From Monday, 678,000 Australians on the frontline of the pandemic will get their first round of vaccinations. Pictured: a man getting the jab in Ireland
‘Research shows that people want to see that if we believe it’s safe, then that will give them greater confidence. That has been a view in many places around the world.’
Mr Hunt said Australia is ‘about to embark on one of the most important public health initiatives’ in the nation’s history.
‘I am very emotional because a year ago we did not know that this would be possible,’ he told 7News.
He 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.
Mr Hunt 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.
Two doses are required at least three weeks apart and the vaccine must be stored and transported at -70C.
A flying squad of 500 nurse immunisers will be dispatched around the nation to vaccinate aged care and disability residents.
Mr Morrison says federal and state health officers are monitoring whether to make shots compulsory for some workers.
The roll out comes a day after thousands of protesters attended anti-vaccination rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Simultaneous protests were also held in Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Albany.
Victorian police used pepper spray on some protesters when they moved beyond cordons and at times, appeared to lose control of the crowd, an AAP photographer on scene said.
While some people were covered in pepper spray, crowds chanted, ‘freedom, freedom’.
Two doses are required at least three weeks apart and the vaccine must be stored and transported at -70C. Pictured: a simulation of the COVID-19 vaccine process in Sydney on February 19
The rally started peacefully but as speakers addressed the crowd ‘people started getting pretty fired up’, the photographer said.
Speakers made comments such as ‘God’s on our side’ and ‘it’s a fight between good and evil’.
At Sydney’s Hyde Park, controversial celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans was among the hundreds of protesters.
Evans, who has recently been banned from social media, addressed the crowd in Sydney.
Protesters marched with placards with slogans such as ‘herd immunity of vaccines is a scam’ and ‘your body, your choice’.