The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response and changes to the Australian COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy.
National Cabinet continues to work together to address issues and find solutions to the health and economic consequences of COVID-19.
There have been 29,500 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 910 people have died. More than 16.3 million tests have been undertaken in Australia.
Globally there have been over 141 million cases and sadly over 3 million deaths, with around 698,000 new cases and more than 9,000 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in many countries around the world.
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to expand. To date 1,586,252 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia. The number of administration sites continues to expand with 4,500 general practices, general practice respiratory centres and Aboriginal health services now administering COVID-19 vaccinations.
Today, National Cabinet received a detailed briefing from Professor Allen Cheng, Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on rare cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) associated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. National Cabinet will continue to receive updated advice on TTS including potential identification of risk factor and treatment options.
National Cabinet also received a presentation from the President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, on the vaccine rollout in phase 1b of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy by GPs and other primary healthcare providers and the ongoing role for the sector.
National Cabinet welcomed Commodore Eric Young, CSC, RAN, who has been appointed as Operations Coordinator for the Commonwealth’s Department of Health’s Vaccine Operations Centre.
National Cabinet received a detailed update from Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Caroline Edwards, Associate Secretary, Commonwealth Department of Health on domestic and international supply and changes to the Australian Vaccination Strategy.
The priority of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy remains to vaccinate vulnerable populations under priority groups 1a and 1b. The medical advice remains that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and recommended for Australians over 50 years old and all states will continue to be prioritised AstraZeneca for Australians over 50 years old.
National Cabinet agreed in-principle to a series of changes to the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy that will be put forward for approval at the next meeting of National Cabinet including options to bring forward the commencement of vaccinations for over 50 year olds under the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy priority group 2a, and the readiness of more state and territory-operated vaccination sites including mass vaccination sites, as vaccine supplies increase.
National Cabinet reinforced that general practice will continue to be the primary model of rolling out vaccinations for Australians over 50 years of age, with states and territories to consider options to supplement rollout through expanded state vaccination centres.
The Commonwealth will continue to finalise the vaccination of residential aged care facility (RACF) residents with Pfizer using an in-reach model.
National Cabinet will meet again on Thursday 22 April 2021.