Queensland plans to start vaccinating 100 frontline healthcare workers on the Gold Coast against coronavirus on Monday as it takes delivery of the jabs.
The state government says workers at the Gold Coast University Hospital will receive their first jab as long as the Commonwealth delivers the Pfizer vaccine this weekend.
Workers at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital will get their initial shot on Wednesday, followed by more healthcare workers in Cairns on Friday.
Up to 10,000 people per week will then start being vaccinated over the next month.
“This is exciting news. It’s something that I know that everyone in Australia has been waiting for and Queenslanders are waiting for,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Six hubs in north and south Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Cairns will administer the vaccine.
The premier urged people to wait until being invited to receive the jab so the government can adequately manage the roll out.
Queensland Health will phase the delivery starting with 37,000 frontline quarantine and healthcare workers, then police and emergency workers, followed by vulnerable people with severe underlying conditions and those aged over 70.
The Commonwealth will run a parallel rollout in public and private aged care homes in the state.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young expects the general population to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October.
“No one will be missed here. Anyone 18 years of age or over will be able to be vaccinated, except for very few small cohorts … by the end of October. That is our plan,” she said.
Dr Young said pregnant and breast-feeding women would be advised against receiving the vaccine at this stage.
Ms Palaszczuk, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Dr Young will all get the jab, but they will be among the second group to receive it.
“I don’t want to take a vaccine at the moment away from a frontline hotel quarantine worker and Dr Young feels very strongly about that,” the premier said.
Ms Palaszczuk also said talks were underway with the federal government on a purpose-built quarantine camp at Wellcamp near Toowoomba.
The Wagner Group wants to build a quarantine facility which would host up to 1000 travellers and 300 staff, but there is uncertainty about who will pay the workers.
The Queensland government insists the Commonwealth must chip in as it is with the vaccine rollout.
“It’s a big bridge for the Commonwealth to be rejecting, and saying: ‘It’s a state responsibility’. It is not, it is a shared responsibility,” the premier said.
Dr Young was uncertain whether people who were vaccinated would be allowed to enter Queensland if they had been in hotspots over the coming months.
“My absolute hope of course is that we don’t have COVID hotspots – if we do we’ll deal with each one as it happens, and work out the best way of dealing with it,” she said.
“Whether or not we have border arrangements, we have to wait and see.
“Let’s just get this vaccine out to as many people as we can as quickly as possible.”
Almost 9846 people were tested for COVID-19 in the previous 24-hour reporting period, with no new cases recorded in the state.