Key Defence leaders have received their COVID-19 vaccine and have encouraged staff – particularly those aged over 50 – to prepare for theirs.
Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty and Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell had their first course of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Duntroon Health Centre.
“Along with COVIDSafe behaviours, vaccination offers a vital additional layer of protection and I was pleased to receive the vaccination as soon as I was eligible,” General Campbell said.
“We are gradually securing our supply of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to achieve the Defence COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and I encourage all ADF and APS personnel to take part in the roll-out when they’re eligible.”
Defence has so far administered about 13,000 vaccines to high-priority groups to maintain readiness and capabilities.
“The best thing our Defence personnel can do is remain COVID-safe, flexible and responsive until they are able to receive their vaccination,” General Campbell said.
Mr Moriarty encouraged all eligible ADF members and Defence public servants to prepare for their vaccinations.
“Our aim is to vaccinate the entire Defence workforce, both ADF and Defence civilians, as soon as we can,” Mr Moriarty said.
“Right now, the current focus is on having our managers and commanders prepare their people and develop their vaccination priority lists.”
Joint Health Unit Commanding Officers will liaise with managers and commanders to determine priority groups and arrange a time and place for personnel to be vaccinated.
“Scheduling our people for vaccinations will depend on stock availability and the need to avoid wasting doses,” Mr Moriarty said.
A number of factors will determine whether personnel receive Pfizer or AstraZeneca and this will be aligned with the latest clinical advice.
Commander COVID-19 Task Force Lieutenant General John Frewen and Surgeon General ADF Rear Admiral Sarah Sharkey also received their doses of AstraZeneca at the new ACT Health Centre in the Duntroon garrison.
“It was painless and the whole process was very simple,” Lieutenant General Frewen said.
“A quick visit is all that’s needed for you to protect yourself.
“For those younger than 50, Pfizer is the preferred vaccine. AstraZeneca is more widely available and informed consent is key to ensure the risks and benefits are well understood.”
Rear Admiral Sharkey said with some countries in the midst of devastating outbreaks of COVID-19, there was no room for complacency.
“Maximum uptake of the vaccines will help deliver maximum protection for individuals and the Australian community as a whole,” Rear Admiral Sharkey said.
“When enough people in the community are vaccinated, it slows down the spread and reduces the severity of disease, giving the national health system time to respond to any outbreaks.
“High immunisation rates protect vulnerable people in our community, including those who cannot be vaccinated for whatever reason.
“In these early stages of vaccine roll-out, we are asking work units to develop vaccine priority lists to ensure we are vaccinating to optimise and preserve Defence capability.”
For information on the ADF's COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout visit: https://www1.defence.gov.au/about/covid-19