The Australian Government has sought the support of the armed forces in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout as it aims to expand the inoculation drive.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will provide the necessary support for the rollout of vaccines to older residents in rural and regional areas under the continued expansion of the phase 1A Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme.

In a statement, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “As we move into the next phase of the aged care vaccine rollout and continue the expansion of teams, additional nurses, pharmacists and providers are being added, with ADF vaccination teams supplementing these efforts.”

As planned, the ADF is expected to start work next week on the planning, logistics, and operations support.

Defence personnel will work to support the inoculations of senior Australians located in places that are not readily accessible by other medical providers.

Notably, more than 14,000 defence personnel already participated in Covid-19 response efforts supporting several initiatives such as contact tracing, emergency clinical support, border control measures, swab testing and support to hotel quarantine.

Australia started its vaccination campaign on 22 February with frontline workers and senior citizens receiving the first jabs, reported Reuters.

To date, Australia confirmed nearly 29,000 Covid-19 cases and 909 fatalities and has been reporting zero or low single-digit cases for the past few weeks.

Globally, the disease has infected more than 114 million and killed around 2.5 million people.

Last month, the Australian Government announced plans to invest up to A$800m ($610.6m) to enhance ADF’s amphibious capabilities in territorial waters and near regions.