PM to announce further $1.9b on vaccine rollout

Coronavirus vaccine: Scott Morrison to announce $1.9b vaccine rollout fund

Coronavirus
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce new vaccine funding at the National Press Club on Monday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce new vaccine funding at the National Press Club on Monday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

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In a speech to the National Press Club on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will release new details of the vaccines rollout strategy.

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The federal government will spend $1.9 billion on its vaccine rollout strategy, mobilising general practices, community pharmacies, logistics and software consultants.

The funding is on top of an existing $4.4 billion allocated for vaccines purchases, medical research and support for partner countries, bringing the total bill for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to $6.3 billion.

In a speech to the National Press Club on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will release new details of the vaccines rollout strategy and urge every Australian to get their free vaccine as soon as they are able.

While the rollout is "on track" for late February, the Prime Minister says, the exact date will depend on developments overseas where demand in heavy-hit areas has had a domino effect on supplies.

"This will be one of the largest logistics exercises ever seen in Australia's history," Mr Morrison will say.

"We'll have thousands of points of presence across Australia - hospitals, GPs, pharmacies, respiratory clinics, Aboriginal health services and a specialist surge workforce. This will ensure we get the vaccine to all Australians, including people in rural, remote and very remote areas and others who are hard to reach."

Guidance on the rollout will soon be shared with employees, employers customers and industries.

In the ACT, there will initially be two vaccine hubs, plus three respiratory clinics, and an Aboriginal-controlled community health service able to administer the vaccine. Details of GP clinics approved to administer the vaccine will come in the next weeks.

A dedicated vaccines program has also been designed around the needs and health systems of Pacific and Southeast Asian neighbours.

Mr Morrison will propose to continue the "Australian way" through the crisis.

Pitching his government's priorities for 2021, Mr Morrison says the country must remain vigilant about new strains of COVID-19, but his government also needed to continue the economic recovery, guaranteeing essential services and securing Australia's global interests.

"The task now is to continue our economic recovery by sticking to our Economic Recovery Plan," the Prime Minister will say.

"Exercising the fiscal discipline necessary to ensure that we do not overburden future generations and continue to spend taxpayers' money wisely."

Under pressure from the opposition to extend existing JobKeeper levels of support, and the coronavirus supplement to JobSeeker, the Prime Minister said the emergency measures needed to be accompanied by a clear fiscal exist strategy.

"We are not running a blank-cheque budget," Mr Morrison said. "You can't run the Australian economy on taxpayers money forever."

Mr Morrison will argue on Monday that the Australian way through the crisis has combined a respect for liberal-democratic values, expert institutions, and business-led market economy and the responsibilities and accountability of a federated system.

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He says decisions to protect public health were guided by Australians respect for science and expert medical advice.

On Sunday WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the Perth metropolitan area was going into lockdown for five days after a security guard from a quarantine hotel had tested positive for COVID-19.

It was the first case of community transmission in WA in 10 months, also ending a 14-day streak of no cases of community transmission across Australia. It was the longest streak of no transmission since February last year.

The ACT government says it is monitoring the situation but was not making any changes to its existing COVID-19 advice at this stage.

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