Two new cases in Qld as Hunt issues plea
Young Australians could save lives of others, including their parents and grandparents by getting a COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Greg Hunt says as the nation readies itself for a rollout.
He also revealed there could be multiple vaccines ready by March, not just the Pfizer jab which will begin delivery in the UK this week.
His comments come as Queensland recorded two new cases of COVID-19 overnight; both acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.
Mr Hunt said while Australia was an "island sanctuary" from the worst COVID-19, it remained an absolutely deadly disease.
While the vaccine will remain voluntary, and young Australians are generally less impacted by the virus, the Health Minister urged people to take up the inoculation when one is approved.
"Your help can help save lives, it can protect your life, but it can protect the life of your mother or father your grandmother your grandfather, or any other member of the community," Mr Hunt told Sky News.
"Vaccination is voluntary but we hope it's taken up as widely as possible, especially by young Australians in their 20s and 30s."
He said he had spoken to the head of Pfizer and the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the nation was on track for the first jab to be approved - if it passes strict safety tests - by the end of January for a March roll out.
"We're on track for potentially a number of vaccines to be available by March, and that's important," he said.
Mr Hunt said even with some UK citizens being vaccinated next week, it would still be some time before international arrivals would be allowed into Australia without quarantine.
Part of the reason being the Pfizer vaccine requires two shots, an initial jab and a booster.
"There will clearly be a period where we consider the outcomes and the science," he said.
"Once we have evidence of widescale effectiveness and we have proof that somebody has a verified vaccine that over the course of the year, we may not require hotel quarantine where there is verified vaccination, though that will take some time yet.
"I think it's important for me to be honest because we're not going to take any risks."
Queensland currently has 13 active cases of coronavirus.
Mr Hunt's comments and the Queensland update came as a health alert remained for passengers who travelled from Sydney to Melbourne on Virgin Flight VA838 on Saturday, after two German tourists boarded the plane without undergoing the mandatory quarantine in place for overseas travellers.
A warning was also issued late on Saturday night to anyone who had been at Melbourne Airport's domestic Terminal 3 that afternoon to get tested if they had any coronavirus symptoms.
The Virgin Airways flight VA838 departed Sydney at midday on Saturday and landed in Melbourne at 1.25pm. About 130 passengers were onboard.
The tourists were this morning in quarantine in Victoria and had undergone coronavirus testing.
Originally published as Two new cases in Qld as Hunt issues plea