The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has received the Pfizer vaccine, as he joined a small first group to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on Sunday a step the government says is intended to build public confidence in the safety of the vaccines.
Morrison the 12th and final member of the group to receive the vaccine at a televised event in Sydney described it as a “curtain raiser” for the formal start of the vaccine rollout on Monday.
He said the initial jabs were designed to show “that it’s safe, that it’s important, and we need to start with those who are most vulnerable and on the front line”.
Jane Malysiak, 85, became the first person in Australia to receive a Covid-19 vaccine when she received the jab at 11.09am AEDT in Castle Hill in Sydney.
Malysiak, born in Poland, was taken to Germany when she was three years old, and moved to Australia with her mother when aged 13.
Morrison, wearing an Australian flag mask, sat next to Malysiak as she received the jab. “Yes I’m happy to receive it,” she said. Morrison then encouraged her to do a ‘V’ for vaccine hand gesture.
Malysiak was followed by another aged resident, a disability support resident, several nurses and other frontline workers.
Prof Alison McMillan, the chief nursing and midwifery officer, and Prof Paul Kelly, the chief medical officer, were the 10th and 11th people to received the vaccine.
Then it was Morrison’s turn at 11.26am. The person administering the jab asked Morrison if he had any questions or issues and he replied: “No, I’m ready to go, just like the country.”
After receiving the jab in his left arm, Morrison did the peace sign and then a thumbs-up. “Thank you very much,” he said.
The health minister, Greg Hunt, had earlier confirmed Morrison would be receiving the jab on Sunday.