Tasmania is preparing to enter the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with 3661 residents already receiving a dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.
A further 180,000 Tasmanians will be eligible to receive a free vaccine as part of phase 1B of the rollout, which will commence late next week. Phase 1A will continue from Monday.
However, the government is urging Tasmanians to be patient, with the rollout expected to take at least four months to complete.
Three weeks into phase 1A, Premier Peter Gutwein said the program was continuing to run smoothly with 1164 Tasmanians vaccinated at the Royal Hobart Hospital vaccination hub.
This week a further 170 priority group Tasmanians also received the AstraZeneca vaccine, after the first doses arrived in the state on Sunday.
Mr Gutwein said from next week the number of trays of the Pfizer vaccine shipped to Tasmania each week would increase from one to four.
It's something he said would considerably speed up the state's ability to vaccinate priority groups, while delivering the second dose.
"This will deliver 4600 doses to Tasmanians across the state as part of the Pfizer vaccination program continuing in Hobart, but also starting at the LGH in Launceston and the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie on March 15," Mr Gutwein said.
"The start of our LGH and North-West Regional hospital hubs is another very important milestone."
Mr Gutwein said the state remained on track to have all Tasmanians in phase 1A priority groups vaccinated by mid-April.
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Meanwhile, it is understood the federal governments rollout schedule is also on track, with between 800 and 1000 Tasmanian residents and staff in aged and disability residential care facilities being vaccinated each week.
"The Commonwealth has now vaccinated residents in aged care facilities in all three regions, and started vaccinating disability residential aged care clients and staff as well," Mr Gutwein said.
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said the state was now preparing to enter phase 1B of the rollout, including an increased supply of vaccines.
The next phase will target people over the age of 70, remaining health care worker, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 and over, adults with underlying medical conditions and critical and high-risk workers.
Ms Courtney said the initial rollout of the AstraZeneca in Tasmania, which the majority of Tasmanians will be offered, will be slow and steady and dependent on supply.
"There are about 180,000 Tasmanians who will be eligible to receive the vaccine, as part of the next stage of the rollout," she said.
"This is a significant number of Tasmanians and at this stage we are estimating it will take about four months to complete this phase."
From March 22, about 40 Tasmanian GPs have registered to start delivering the vaccine across the state.
More information about the location of these practices and how they will be taking bookings is expected to be released by the federal government next week.
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Ms Courtney said the state government would stand up its own AstraZeneca vaccination clinics starting from Friday, March 19 at the Mersey Community Hospital.
"This will then be followed on March 22 with the start of the government's community AstraZeneca clinics," Ms Courtney said.
"These will be in Launceston, New Norfolk Kingston and Brighton."
Details on the actual locations of the clinics will be released next week, with bookings to be taken from March 18.
Ms Courtney said there was no need for Tasmanians eligible under phase 1B to do anything, with public announcements expected next week around how people will be able to book an appointment.
"We ask Tasmanians to be patient. This is an enormous process to vaccinate all the adult population in Tasmania. It is going to take many months and it will be a team effort," Ms Courtney said.
As part of phase 1B, Health Department secretary Kathrine Morgan Wicks said the first thing Tasmanians needed to do was check to see if they are eligible for a vaccine, through the federal government's website.
Ms Morgan Wicks the federal government will launch a national vaccination clinic finder system next week.
"This online search will enable people to find out which vaccination clinic are located near them and allow people to check if their GP is participating in the rollout," she said.
"This finder system will also tell people how to book."
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