Thanks to a global effort many countries are now beginning to vaccinate against the COVID-19 virus.
Vaccines are a safe way to protect all of us from diseases. The process from scientists developing a new vaccine to the public getting immunised puts safety as its number one priority. There are a series of checks that make sure when it is rolled out to the population it is safe and effective.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is the Australia's medicine regulator, which makes sure every safety measure has been taken. The regulator has begun approving vaccines to help us fight COVID-19, which means Australians will soon be able to be immunised, for free, if they want to.
The Australian government will oversee the vaccine rollout. Those who are most at risk from the virus, such as people working in healthcare, quarantine and border workers, and aged care and disability staff and residents will be the first to receive the vaccine. Other vulnerable groups, such as elderly people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people with underlying conditions which make them vulnerable will also have early access.
Immunising our communities will save lives and help avoid future disruptions from the pandemic. Australians already have a high rate of immunisation, which means we no longer have to worry about diseases like polio or smallpox. Each year many of us also get the flu shot which helps keep us well throughout winter.
It's important that when seeking information about the COVID-19 vaccine, or another vaccine, you use reliable, accurate sources, from the government, health bodies and reliable news. Avoid trying to get information about vaccinations on social media - which can cause confusion and even fear about them.
The lessons from COVID-19 are still important to follow. Make sure you keep up with the local health advice. Always wash your hands, and stay home if you're sick. In some states it's also recommended you wear a mask on public transport and when social distancing isn't possible.
As more vaccination news comes through Flourish Australia will keep you updated. You can also follow developments at australia.gov.au.
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