• Tony Bosworth

The truth about Covid-19 vaccines as vaccine program ramps up + $1.1bn to extend health response

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a further $1.1 billion to extend the national Covid-19 health response and suppression strategy until the end of December.

The $1.1bn is in addition to a massive $22 billion spent so far, including more than $6 billion to support the Covid-19 vaccine roll out.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Mrs Jane Malysiak, a patient at MyHealth Kable Street in Windsor, who was the first Australian to receive the Covid vaccine in February, had her second dose today - Sunday.

Mrs Malysiak, who lives in Marayong, received the first dose vaccine on February 21 alongside the Prime Minister at Castle Hill, as she did her second today.

Mrs Malysiak is treated by doctors at MyHealth Kable Street and Local Partner Dr Iwona Mrowka.

“Jane was the first person in Australia to receive the vaccine,” Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne said on Sunday.

“She’s in good health and reports no after effects having first been vaccinated three weeks ago.

“When it’s your time, please roll up your sleeve and get the vaccine - it’s safe, effective and free.”

Alongside the start of the second dose roll-out, the government has moved to counter any misinformation about Covid vaccines as they encourage people to get the jabs.

Australians can get all their questions answered on the government health website to find out what they want – and need – to know about the Covid-19 vaccines.

The new material on the website, called Is it true? – www.health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines – will help answer questions people may have about the vaccine, and respond to vaccine misinformation they may have heard.

This new information provides trusted, credible information on Covid-19 vaccines for everyone in Australia. It will sort the fact from the fiction.

The information on the website is clear, accurate and timely.

Senator Payne said the new material will help reassure Australians about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and answer commonly asked questions and misinformation relating to the Covid-19 vaccination program.

“The vaccines are the next, crucial step on the road out of this pandemic, and it’s the one step that we can all take to protect ourselves, our families, our communities from severe illness,” Senator Payne said.

“It’s essential that people get their information on the vaccines from credible sources – and that should be on official government websites.

“With new vaccine developments every day, it’s very normal for people to have questions and possibly feel hesitant about getting the vaccine. That doesn’t make them anti-vaccination.

“The new section on the website will address the most common questions being asked by people and will be updated regularly.”

The Government is running an extensive $31 million education campaign through the rollout, providing people with information about the approval process for the vaccines, details on what phases the rollout is at, and who is now eligible to be vaccinated.

The $1.1bn announced by the PM means the ongoing investment will extend:

• The Federal partnership with the states and territories to manage Covid-19 by sharing 50 per cent of the cost of testing and treating people with Covid-19 through public hospitals, and of public health measures to prevent the spread.

So far, the Commonwealth has provided an additional $5bn to support the states and territories, including $1bn in additional public hospital funding to:

• Continue telehealth services and care until June 30. So far more than 51 million telehealth services have been delivered to 13 million patients and almost $2.6bn in benefits paid. More than 82,000 providers have used telehealth services nationwide. The Government will continue to review the ongoing role of Covid telehealth to support the pandemic in the short term, while looking at the permanent post-pandemic telehealth arrangements with peak doctor groups.

• Support for rapid pathology testing and tracing building on the more than 14.5 million Covid-19 tests conducted so far

• GP-led Respiratory Clinics, which have delivered more than 1 million consultations and 934,600 Covid-19 tests

• Culturally safe testing, treatment and evacuation preparedness in the most remote and isolated parts of the country which has so far provided more than 15,500 point of care tests

• Electronic prescription services with 3.8 million electronic prescriptions and repeats to patients issued and almost 1.7 million dispensed so far

• Delivery of Home Medicine Services across the country with more than 2.1 million services delivered already

• The Continued Dispensing Emergency Measure where around 289,000 people have had at least one supply of medicine so far

• The Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service to meet ongoing demand for services as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and provide continued support while Covid-19 restrictions remain and the Covid-19 vaccine program is implemented

• Aged care workforce surge support capability and financial support for aged care facilities affected by a COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the ongoing safety of senior Australians.

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