SYDNEY, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — More than 35,000 frontline staff in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will be among the first in the country to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Feb. 22.
The NSW government said in a media release on Wednesday all hotel quarantine workers, including those screening arrivals at the airport, health staff, cleaners, police officers and security guards would be at the front line to get the vaccine.
Health care workers who have the greatest exposure to potential COVID-19 patients will also be included in the first round of jabs.
The vaccination process will take three weeks and will be administered at Westmead, Liverpool and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said vaccinating quarantine workers was an important milestone in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know the biggest risk for an outbreak in Australia is through returning international travellers staying in the hotel quarantine system,” she said.
“With more than 3,000 people arriving in Sydney from overseas each week, priority is being given to quarantine workers to mitigate the risk of an outbreak, and protect those protecting us.”
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant welcomed the commencement of the vaccination rollout while reminding the public to continue to remain vigilant.
“High testing rates give us the best chance of finding new cases in the community, so even after the vaccine rollout starts, it is vital people still get tested,” she said.
“Remember to keep coming forward for testing even with the mildest of symptoms, wear a mask on public transport, socially distance and maintain good hygiene.” Enditem