The challenge faced by states ramping up the rollout of vaccines across the country will headline March’s National Cabinet meeting, set for today.

The first snapshot of Australia’s vaccination program was released this week, revealing most states are struggling to quickly deliver the jabs.

And with the second vaccine now being distributed, governments are facing logistical challenges to meet the goal of providing coverage of the entire country by the end of October.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

Good morning Simon! Nice to see you again on this non-sports- related blog! I hope you’ve got a nice hot or cold bevvy to help you through ūüôā

-Natty

Morning Natty, thanks for being with us.

First coffee is in the books. There will be more.

By Simon Smale

Always talk to your doctor 

What is the current advice for vaccines in people who have a history of anaphylaxis?

-Melbourne Gal

If you have any concerns about the vaccine and its effect on you, your first point of call should be your GP.

They’ll be able to give you all the information based on your specific circumstances.

By Simon Smale

More AstraZeneca advice from Europe

Germany and Sweden have formally approved AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to be used for people aged over 65, after new studies showed it is as effective for them as other jabs.¬†

Many countries initially withheld the approval, because there hadn’t been enough research on its effectiveness on older people.¬†

France and Belgium have also lifted the initial restrictions they had on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

By Simon Smale

National rollout of vaccines won’t be affected by EU block

The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has said the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines won’t be affected by a decision to block a shipment of doses to Australia.¬†

The Italian Government, backed by the European Commission,¬†has banned the export of 250,000¬†doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine ‚ÄĒ arguing Australia is not considered “vulnerable.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt says one million doses of domestically produced AstraZeneca doses will still be delivered from late March. 

He said the blocked shipment was not factored into Australia’s distribution plan for the coming weeks.¬†

By Simon Smale

Zero cases in Victoria for seventh-straight day

Loading

Victoria has recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 for the seventh day in a row.

There were 19,846 test results processed on Thursday.

With international flights into the state indefinitely paused, there are now only five active cases of coronavirus in the state.

By Simon Smale

No need panic after health worker suffered severe allergic reaction to Pfizer jab

A Queensland virologist says there’s no need for concern after a Gold Coast health worker suffered a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Authorities say the person who had an anaphylactic reaction after receiving the dose yesterday had a history of anaphylaxis and recovered quickly. 

It is the first reported incident of a serious side effect among the more than 5,000 people who’ve been inoculated in Queensland.¬†

UQ Virologist Dr Kirsty Short says while it’s unfortunate for the individual involved, it is not an unexpected side effect in rare cases.¬†

“Allergies are incredibly common in our society and this is just really reflective of that, it’s not reflective of the vaccine,” Dr Short said.

“Individuals have allergic reactions to other vaccines as well, it’s not something unique to the COVID-19 vaccine so I really don’t think this is anything to be concerned [about].”

Gold Coast Health said its staff are well prepared and stringent processes are in place.

By Simon Smale

By Simon Smale

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine be produced in Australia?

With quarter of a million vaccine doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being blocked from being shipped to Australia, this could cause a hiccup in the rollout schedule.

However, Australia does have the capacity to manufacture its own doses of this particular vaccine at a facility outside Melbourne.

You can read more about the CSL facility here.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined that 50 million doses would be made in Australia.

(ABC)

“50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be made right here in Australia in Melbourne. And we took the decision to have the sovereign capability to do that because we did not want to be, over the course of¬†our vaccination program in Australia, overly reliant or dependent on supply chains from somewhere else,” Mr Morrison said.

By Simon Smale

By Simon Smale

Arrival caps and vaccine rollout on agenda for National Cabinet

The challenge faced by states ramping up the roll out of vaccines across the country will headline March’s National Cabinet meeting, set for today.

The first snapshot of Australia’s vaccination program was released this week, revealing most states are struggling to quickly deliver the jabs.

And with the second vaccine now being distributed, governments are facing logistical challenges in order to meet the goal of providing coverage of the entire country by the end of October.

Also on the agenda will be caps for international air passengers.

These have been in flux over the past month, after Victoria briefly suspended international flights as it dealt with an outbreak and other states expanded their intake.

Governments have been looking at ways to increase capacity, either through expanded facilities such as Howard Springs in the Northern Territory or new purpose-built accommodation.

State and territory leaders will also discuss with Prime Minister Scott Morrison the Pacific Worker program and the work from a new taskforce that is assessing the risk environment of COVID-19 for this year.

The taskforce was established at February’s National Cabinet meeting. 

Coronavirus live updates, Friday March 5

Morning everyone and welcome to today’s COVID blog.

Simon Smale with you today to help bring you all the information from around the states and around the country today, with Kelsie Iorio.

As always, leave your questions and comments using the big blue button at the top of the page and we’ll get to as many as we can.