Nearly 12 months on from the start of the pandemic, Tasmanians can look to the future with optimism with the vaccine rollout now in full swing and proceeding well.
The first week of the rollout went as planned, with 1159 people from priority groups receiving their vaccination at the Royal Hobart Hospital, including frontline health workers, quarantine and border control staff.
This has been a fantastic effort and I thank our highly-trained, professional staff, both those receiving the vaccine and those administering it, who are doing a great job in ensuring the rollout is proceeding smoothly.
While it has been a very positive start, we know there is a long way to go, and with the next batch due on Sunday, it will be another busy week at the Royal next week.
Importantly, we remain on track for the vaccination program to start at the Launceston General Hospital and the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie in mid-March, with clinics now in the process of being set up and tested.
The aim remains to have fully vaccinated Tasmania’s priority populations of around 14,000 people with the Pfizer vaccine by mid-April.
Pleasingly, there are now no restrictions on travel between our State and the rest of Australia, with no premises in Victoria or NSW deemed high-risk by our Public Health authorities.
However, the Auckland region has again been designated a high-risk area by Public Health in response to their most recent cases. This means anyone currently on mainland Australia cannot enter Tasmania if they have been in the Auckland region in the previous 14 days, unless approved by the Deputy State Controller as an Essential Traveller.
Tasmania remains in a good place, but as we have seen in other states, the threat of COVID has not gone away, and despite the rollout of the vaccination program, we must not become complacent.
Remember to maintain physical distancing and good hand hygiene, stay home if you’re sick, and make sure you get tested even if you have the mildest of symptoms.