As you are most likely aware, there is a rapidly evolving situation in relation to COVID-19 in Victoria. Last Friday, Premier Gutwein announced that the State of Victoria had been declared a high-risk area, and the resulting measures Tasmania would take at our borders. Over this past weekend further high-risk premises were identified in Victoria and it’s really timely to echo a sentiment I’ve explained before: we all have a responsibility to stay up to date with current travel alerts. Anyone that has been in Victoria recently must check the Victorian high-risk premises register at https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/coming-to-tasmania/travel-alert and follow the directions outlined on the page if required.
My thoughts are with our Victorian friends who for the third time find themselves in lockdown. There are many of us here in Tasmania who have friends and family, and special occasions, greatly impacted. Being isolated can have so many impacts in our communities and I would ask that you please continue to take care of each other, to show kindness in your interactions, and to reach out if you need support.
I am pleased to also be able to focus this message on some positive news – the Tasmanian Government’s vaccine roll-out program.
I’d like to acknowledge the work that many of our colleagues have been involved with to prepare for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is being co-ordinated by a dedicated Tasmanian Vaccination Emergency Operations Centre.
Everyone in Tasmania will have the opportunity to get a free COVID-19 vaccine this year. By getting the vaccine when it is available to you will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 as well as enable us all to live our everyday lives more freely.
There will be a gradual start to the vaccine roll-out, with the stages planned to prioritise those at highest risk of exposure or greatest health risk, these people will be contacted directly to make an appointment to receive the vaccine.
In the first few weeks Tasmania will receive a few thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine to commence the vaccination program. The number of doses will increase over following weeks, enabling us to expand the groups and numbers of people being vaccinated.
Additionally, the Australian Government is continuing to test other available vaccines for their effectiveness and safety and these will become available as part of the vaccination roll-out as they pass the regulatory requirements in place.
The Australian Government will start its program in Tasmania to vaccinate residential aged care and disability care staff and residents at the same time as the Tasmania Government’s roll-out program commences.
I recognise that you may have questions about the vaccination program. I encourage you to visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/vaccine for the latest information on the vaccination roll-out. Additionally, you can visit the Australian Government Health website for further information at www.health.gov.au.
Keeping yourself and others safe
We must all continue to play our part in being COVID safe. While the vaccine is an important measure in our response to COVID-19, it is part of a suite of things we need to do – including maintaining our COVID-safe behaviours:
For the latest updates on the COVID-19 restrictions in Tasmania and across Australia, visit http://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au.