We are still winning, but we have not yet won the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many readers would be aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 travelling through Nyngan, Broken Hill and Orange at the beginning of January, and once again, I urge everyone to remain vigilant and monitor the latest information here.

The vaccination is a key component of how we’re dealing with the pandemic here in Australia, and the Prime Minister reassured the public that officials have been moving swiftly and safely to introduce the vaccine as soon as is safely possible.

In my view, we will not defeat the virus in Australia unless we have an extremely high rate of vaccination.

The Prime Minister is confident vaccinations of high priority groups will be able to commence in mid to late February.

This will remain conditional: most importantly, on final TGA approval and the delivery of the vaccine from suppliers. The vaccine is a two-shot process which needs to be managed, particularly for priority populations.

There will be five phases of priority populations over the course of 2021 to administer the vaccine: both the Pfizer vaccine and the AZ vaccine. Populations in the first phase are quarantine and border workers, front line health officials, those working in aged care and disability care, and those in aged care, and disability care residents.

Worth noting is the fact that vaccination is not a silver bullet. Once the vaccination starts, COVID-safe practices do not end – they will continue.

Mark Coulton, Member for Parkes.

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