Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 12 MARCH 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

I’m joined by the Health Minister Sarah Courtney and the Secretary of the Health Department Kathryn Morgan-Wicks.

After three weeks of successfully rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine in Tasmania to our priority and at-risk groups, today we are able to provide further details on the next phase of what is a huge logistical exercise, not only for our State but for our country.

I’m again pleased the Pfizer program this week has run smoothly with 1,164 people vaccinated at the Royal Hobart Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination hub.

Our immunisers continue to regularly get six doses from each vial of the Pfizer vaccine, a credit to our highly trained and professional staff who are doing an amazing job, and I want to thank them for that.

For each of the past three weeks, Tasmania has received one tray of the Pfizer vaccine.

From next week, this will increase to four trays, which will considerably speed up our ability to vaccinate the priority groups that we have and at the same time deliver the second doses to those vaccinated in the first week.

This will deliver 4,600 doses for Tasmanians across the State, with the Pfizer vaccination program continuing in Hobart, but also starting at the LGH here in Launceston and the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie on the 15th of March.

The start of our LGH and North West Regional Hospital hubs this coming Monday is another very important milestone.

As we said many times, our aim is to have fully vaccinated Tasmania’s 1A priority group by mid-April, and we remain on track to meet that target.

In terms of the Australian Government’s rollout, I’m advised it’s continuing to achieve its rollout schedule, and in Tasmania is vaccinating between 800 and 1,000 people each week.

The Commonwealth has now vaccinated residents in aged care facilities in all three regions and has also started vaccinating disability residential aged care clients and staff as well.

This week in Tasmania we also received our first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 6,720 doses which we have already started to distribute to healthcare facilities managed by the State Government.

I want to particularly thank a number of our healthcare leaders who stepped forward this week to be the first Tasmanians to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Their message was clear, AstraZeneca is safe and equally as effective as the Pfizer vaccine when it comes to protecting our community, and it’s certainly the vaccine that I’ll be rolling up my sleeve for when it’s my turn.

This week, we delivered the AstraZeneca vaccine to a 170 people, which brings our total to 3,661 Tasmanians vaccinated with both vaccines over the first three weeks.

As we announced last week, the early arrival of AstraZeneca means we’ve brought forward the start of the second phase of the rollout plane.

As part of second stage, we’ll start to see the vaccine rollout broadened beyond our priority groups.

I’ll hand over to the Health Minister Sarah Courtney to provide more detail around what this stage will entail, but before I do it I’d like to reassure Tasmanians and everyone who had the chance to be vaccinated, there’s plenty of time to receive your vaccination, and we’ll continue communicating with you about when and how you can receive it.

Please remember, this is a huge exercise and it will take time, so please be patient.

Importantly, continue to do the things that we’ve been asking you to do, and that is to ensure that you’ve got good hand hygiene, that you cover your coughs and sneezes.

If you’re feeling even a little unwell, get a test but, importantly, do not go to work, do not go to a function, if you feel unwell.

We have done so very well here in Tasmania, and it’s important that we continue to stay in that place.