ALMOST 12 months after the outbreak of COVID began drastically affecting our everyday lives, the rollout of the vaccination program has begun.
Marcus Heiner, pharmacist and owner of Capital Chemist, said they were looking forward to being part of the vaccination rollout.
"This week is just the Pfizer vaccines which most GP's and pharmacists won't be involved in due to the need for low temperature storage, however when the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine becomes available over the coming weeks, it will be much quicker and easier to get people vaccinated," he said.
"The NSW Government is always slightly adjusting and updating their program, and there was discussion around adjusting the number of vaccinations early in the program to provide metro areas more compared to regional areas given the higher risk of cases in bigger cities.
"At the end of the day we just have to wait until the end of this week for more information along with any changes and hopefully we see Bathurst on the list soon."
The five stage program will see frontline health workers, quarantine and border works, and those working or living in aged care the first to receive vaccinations.
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said it was an exciting time for NSW residents.
"It is absolutely a game changer," she said.
"It is the beginning of time when all of us can think about going back to life as normal as possible and that will only occur when the vast majority of our population has the vaccine."
With aged care facilities in Orange among the first to start receiving Pfizer vaccinations this week and Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, agreed with Ms Berejiklian saying the vaccinations were a significant step in controlling the virus outbreak.
"The arrival of the vaccine is the beginning of the end of this pandemic," he said.
"It gives us hope and confidence that our lives and our economy will slowly return to normal, labelling this a turning point in the battle against the virus."
The Government is releasing 80,000 doses of the vaccine this week, with 50,000 set to vaccinate frontline quarantine and health workers, while 30,000 is being used for aged care and disability care residents and workers.
Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said the aim was to have 60,000 doses given to the public by the end of the month, with all Australians receiving at least their first dose by the end of October this year.
A recent survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that three out to four Australians are preparing to get vaccinated.
73 per cent of people said that they would get COVID vaccinations when it was their turn, while 79 per cent felt that Australians had been closely following government recommendations and restrictions.
Men were five percent more likely than women to be vaccinated, while people aged 65 years and over were almost 12 per cent more likely than people aged 18 to 64 years to agree with getting a COVID-19 vaccine.