An 84-year-old grandmother who received Australia’s first Covid vaccine ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t recognise him when they met.
Jane Malysiak, who immigrated to Australia from war-torn Poland when she was 13, received the Pfizer vaccine shot on Sunday morning ahead of the nationwide rollout on Monday.
The prime minister, donning an Australian flag face mask, then followed Ms Malysiak in receiving the jab at Castle Hill Medical Centre in Sydney’s north-west.
Ms Malysiak told Today hosts Karl Stefanvoic and Allison Langdon it was ‘very exciting’ to be the first Australian on home soil to be vaccinated.
‘I loved it,’ she said.
Jane Malysiak, 84, receives the first Covid-19 vaccination in Australia on Sunday next to Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Stefanovic asked the aged care resident whether she experienced any side effects after taking the jab alongside the prime minister.
She replied: ‘Not really side effects, except I didn’t recognise him (Mr Morrison), he looks much nicer in real life than on television,’ she said.
The Today hosts joked that Mr Morrison was hiding behind his face mask and that’s why Ms Malysiak may not have recognised him.
Ms Malysiak said she had no reservations about getting vaccinated.
‘No, no, it’s just a little jab, so that doesn’t – you know, it doesn’t bother me. I said, yes, I will go and have a jab,’ she said.
‘Except I didn’t know I was going to be so popular.’
Mr Morrison sat beside Ms Malysiak as she received her jab, which she described as ‘lovely’.
While posing for photos, Mr Morrison encouraged Ms Malysiak to give a peace sign for the cameras, telling her it means ‘V for vaccine’.
But Ms Malysiak hilariously botched the peace sign, and inadvertently threw up the universal sign for ‘up yours’ by turning her hand the other way around.
Jane Malysiak (left) was interviewed by the Today show on Monday morning after she received Australia’s first coronavirus jab
Photographers, health workers and reporters erupted into laughter, before Mr Morrison quickly pushed Ms Malysiak’s hand down, jokingly telling her ‘always front, always front’.
The footage was played on Today and Langdon asked Ms Malysiak about the mishap.
Ms Malysiak replied: ‘I never thought I’d be so popular.’
‘I’ve got two boys, and their families. I never told them I’m going to be on television. They had to find out themselves.’
Stefanovic asked Ms Malysiak to give the cameras another ‘V for vaccine’ to conclude the interview.
But the grandmother again had her wires crossed and began to make the rude gesture before flipping her fingers around the correct way.
Stefanovic and Langdon erupted in laughter as the aged care resident successfully displayed her ‘V’.
Langdon said: ‘I didn’t mind your two-fingered salute to the pandemic anyway Jane, I thought it was the perfect moment. You’re a national treasure.’
A similar situation occurred on Sky News, with Ms Malysiak admitting she has still not worked out which way is correct.
Ms Malysiak hilariously botched the peace sign, and inadvertently threw up the universal sign for ‘up yours’ by turning her hand the other way around
Photographers, health workers and reporters erupted into laughter, before Mr Morrison quickly pushed Ms Malysiak’s hand down, jokingly telling her ‘always front, always front’
Mr Morrison heaped praise on Ms Malysiak on Sunday, telling the press she is a ‘great Australian’ who is now a part of Australian medical history.
‘Jane Malysiak has seen many historic days in Australia over the course of her more than 80 years of life,’ he said.
‘She grew up in Poland in the Depression… she went through the Second World War, she came to Australia, she built a wonderful life here and is still living it gloriously today.
‘She’s seen more things than most of us have, and she’s taking part in what is a very historic day for our country, and I want to thank you, Jane, for being with us here today.’
Health and border control workers, and aged care residents and their carers have started getting the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, at hubs across the country.
The rollout commences with about 60,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to be administered to priority groups.
Everything Aussies need to know about the vaccine roll out
* What about Australians under the age of 16?
The Pfizer vaccination approval does not cover people under the age of 16, but it has no upper age limit. The medical regulator says the benefits of the vaccination for people over the age of 85, or those who are frail, should be weighed against potential risk of even a mild response.
Age limits for the AstraZeneca vaccination will be outlined in the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval.
* How many do we get?
Both vaccines are two doses – so Australians will get two at least 21 days apart. They will need to be from the same company.
* Where will they be administered?
General practitioners and pharmacies have put their hand up to be involved, and there’s expected to be pop-up clinics at current COVID-19 testing centres and hospitals.
* How can Australians prove they’ve been vaccinated?
Jabs will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Certificates proving vaccinations will then be available either digitally or in hard copy. The government says this might be needed for interstate and overseas travel.
* How many vaccines has Australia ordered?
Australia has secured more than 150 million doses of various vaccines, including almost 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the vast majority to be manufactured in Melbourne. As well as more than 51 million from Novavax.
WHICH VACCINES AUSTRALIA HAS SECURED:
20 million doses – enough to vaccinate 10 million Australians
Australia has ordered 51 million doses but it is still in the trial phase
University of Oxford:
53.8 million doses
The Australian Government has joined the COVAX Facility as part of a global effort to support rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This participation enables us to purchase vaccine doses for Australia as they become available
This includes the Moderna vaccine, CureVac, Inovio and others
University of Queensland:
Australia had ordered 51 million doses. However, the deal has been scrapped after trial participants returned false positive results for HIV