Australia This is how Australia plans to keep the new Pfizer vaccine at -70C
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Australia's first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in top secret by global logistics firm DHL once it touches down from Belgium next week.
Thousands of doses of the long-awaited vaccine that must be stored below -70C will be warehoused in a top secret location in Sydney before being distributed to 200 cold storage facilities around the country, DHL has revealed.
The ultra-cold temperature requirement makes transporting and storing it difficult.
Pfizer says after storage for up to 30 days in their thermal shipper, their vaccine can be stored for an additional five days at 2C to 8C. It cannot be re-frozen or stored frozen, the Pfizer website says.
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DHL Supply Chain chief executive for Australia and New Zealand Saul Resnick said the location had to be kept secret because the vaccine is so precious.
'(The secrecy is) to ensure that throughout the life-cycle up until the Australian population gets vaccinated, the product is cared for as if it were the most highly sought-after commodity,' he toldon Sunday.
In what has been described as the 'largest logistic program' for DHL in Australia's history, the logistics giant will store hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccine in special refrigerators in a secret location at a covert warehouse to make sure they stay at the right temperature.
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Using public health orders, states and territories have the power to mandate vaccinations for certain activities and professions such as aged care workers who can be required to get an up-to-date flu jab. Last month NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian suggested she may allow private venues such as bars, shops and workplaces to set their own rules for Covid-19 jab requirements. © Provided by Daily Mail Australians could possibly be banned from restaurants, shops and offices if they refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Pictured: A bar next to the Sydney Opera House 'We'll consider whether we allow venues...
There are 15 special freezers for the vaccine in Australia, with 11 kept in Sydney and the rest in Adelaide and Perth.
Each freezer can hold 140,000 Pfizer vaccine doses.
The fragile vaccine must be kept below -70C. Once it is thawed to between 2C and 8C it must be used within five days.
For comparison, solid carbon dioxide, commonly called 'dry ice' turns into a gas at -78.5C, just 8.5C cooler than the vaccine must be kept.
The vaccine will be shipped inside special cold boxes packed with dry ice for distribution.
The dry ice boxes have been fitted with thermal sensors which will send messages to a central control tower if they drop below the required temperature.
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Australia is expected to receive its first 80,000 doses of the Covid Pfizer vaccine by the end of next week, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has said.
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Everything Aussies need to know about the vaccine roll out
* What about Australians under the age of 16?
The Pfizer vaccination approval does not cover people under the age of 16, but it has no upper age limit. The medical regulator says the benefits of the vaccination for people over the age of 85, or those who are frail, should be weighed against potential risk of even a mild response.
Age limits for the AstraZeneca vaccination will be outlined in the Therapeutic Goods Administration's approval.
* How many do we get?
Both vaccines are two doses - so Australians will get two at least 21 days apart. They will need to be from the same company.
* Where will they be administered?
General practitioners and pharmacies have put their hand up to be involved, and there's expected to be pop-up clinics at current COVID-19 testing centres and hospitals.
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Israel is currently in the lead when it comes to vaccinating against the corona virus. Around 40 percent of the population received their first dose within 1.5 months. While other countries are struggling to get vaccines, Israel has so much of it, according to the news agency Bloomberg , that it is stashing its supply of Moderna for the first time.
* How can Australians prove they've been vaccinated?
Jabs will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Certificates proving vaccinations will then be available either digitally or in hard copy. The government says this might be needed for interstate and overseas travel.
* How many vaccines has Australia ordered?
Australia has secured more than 150 million doses of various vaccines, including almost 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the vast majority to be manufactured in Melbourne. As well as more than 51 million from Novavax.
WHICH VACCINES AUSTRALIA HAS SECURED:
20 million doses - enough to vaccinate 10 million Australians
Australia has ordered 51 million doses but it is still in the trial phase
University of Oxford:
53.8 million doses
The Australian Government has joined the COVAX Facility as part of a global effort to support rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This participation enables us to purchase vaccine doses for Australia as they become available
This includes the Moderna vaccine, CureVac, Inovio and others
University of Queensland:
Australia had ordered 51 million doses. However, the deal has been scrapped after trial participants returned false positive results for HIV
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The Health Minister said the doses would arrive under tight security from Belgium.
The vaccines will then undergo their final stage of testing from the Therapeutic Good Administration to ensure they are safe before being rolled out to vulnerable residents later this month.
'I've spoken to the country head of Pfizer and have confirmed that the vaccines are on track for arrival by the end of the week,' Mr Hunt told.
'Commencement of vaccinations - subject to arrival, quality and temperature controls - will take place in the last week of February.'
Australia has secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 10 million people.
The Pfizer vaccine will arrive in batches of 5000.
First in line to receive the jab are the elderly, vulnerable, frontline health workers, hotel quarantine staff, as well as aged and disability workers and residents.
Mr Hunt said the Morrison Government will not decide on an official date for the first round of jabs until the doses are in the country.
Other Australians over the age of 16 will be then be ranked by health risk to determine when they get the vaccination, with those more vulnerable prioritised.
The government expects the AstraZeneca vaccine to get approval soon so it will be available in early March.
Health Department boss Brendan Murphy has said it's unlikely people will get to pick if they get the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, as it depends on their profile and category of risk.
Australians banned from the PUB if they refuse coronavirus vaccine
Safe Work Australia said while it's unlikely companies will be forced to ask customers for proof of vaccination under current work health and safety laws, they are free to do so if they please. The safety regulator recommended that businesses - including cafes, restaurants and bars - consider taking further precautionary action once the vaccine is administered.
The government wants the vaccine rollout to be complete by the end of October.
Hospitals will be able to store the vaccines in special low-temperature freezers, while aged care facilities will be able to keep them cool in their boxes for 15 days by regularly replacing the dry ice.
Mr Hunt said it is critical that communications around the vaccine program are also targeted for culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities.
WHEN WILL YOU GET JABBED?
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants workers from its member industries in manufacturing, education and tourism to be classed as 'critical workers' so they get innoculated in Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout.
This is the official rollout plan as of January 16:
Phase 1a: to cover 678,000 of the most vulnerable and exposed people including quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, aged care staff, disability workers and the elderly. 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with the government hoping for approval by the end of January.
Phase 1b: to cover 6.14 million Australians including anyone over 70 years old, other healthcare workers, those with an underlgying condition and high-risk workers like emergency services and meat processors. It will also include indigenous people aged over 55. Up to 14.8 million doses.
Phase 2a: to cover 6.57 million people including Australians over 50, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are between 18-54, and critical high-risk workers. Up to 15.8 million doses
Phase 2b: to cover 6.64 million people - the rest of the adult population, plus anyone who missed out. Up to 16 million doses.
Phase 3: to cover 5.7 million children if recommended with up to 13.6 million doses set aside.
Source: Australian Government website COVID-19 vaccine national roll-out strategy
'The government recognises that people from multicultural communities are a significant part of the health, aged care, child care and disability workforce and will be among the first people in Australia to receive vaccinations,' Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
But shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers is concerned that Australia is languishing in rolling out the program, which is creating uncertainty in communities and the economy more broadly.
He said some 90 countries have their vaccinations program under way.
'After the prime minister said we were at the front of the queue 160 million people have been vaccinated around the world, while zero Australians have been vaccinated,' Dr Chalmers told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
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