The coronavirus vaccine is not going to be compulsory for Australians, but Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government could impose certain incentives to encourage Australians to get the jab.
“We’d like to see a take up of 95 per cent,” Hunt told Sunrise on Thursday.
Hunt did not rule it out when asked if the government should consider adding the vaccine to welfare benefits such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker.
“Our first goal is to encourage as many Australians as possible and I’m confident that with a vaccine that can save lives and protect lives…very large numbers of Australians will take it up,” Hunt said.
“But we reserve the right, subject to medical advice, to take steps that might assist.”
The Australian Government made a deal with UK drug company AstraZeneca to provide 25 million Australians with the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“If this vaccine proves successful we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam.”
The precise cost of the AstraZeneca transaction is yet to be announced, but Australia has so far spent $333 million in Covid-19 medicines, treatments, and vaccinations, including $256 million for vaccinations.
Morrison urged Australians to get the vaccine, adding that before making a decision, they would think about others.
“You have got to do it for yourself, your family and for your fellow Australians,” Morrison said.
“I mean, people can’t think of just themselves in these situations.”