Scott Morrison announces Australia has doubled its Pfizer vaccine volumes.
Australia has gone from expecting 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to 20 million, after Scott Morrison announced the Government today had secured an extra 10 million doses from the pharmaceutical giant.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved in Australia, is expected to provide the nation with 50 million more life-saving vaccines starting from March or early April.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the vaccine rollout was “the next critical step in protecting Australians”.
“I am pleased to be able to announce that Australia has purchased an additional 10 million doses of Pfizer,” he said in Canberra.
“I spoke with both AstraZeneca Australia and Pfizer Australia, and both have reconfirmed that, at this point in time, the vaccine rollout remains on track, respectively for the last week of February for Pfizer and the first week of March for AstraZeneca.”
The additional purchase from Pfizer is aimed at giving Australia “additional insurance and
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy said Australia would have “plentiful supplies” of vaccines and he remained confident the population could be fully vaccinated by October.
“I am incredibly pleased with the position we’re in with vaccines at the moment,” he said.
Mr Morrison said he would get the jab as soon as he could, and given the timeframe, expected he would be inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine.
It comes after the EU flagged potential blockades of vaccines flowing out of the continent to other countries like Australia if its member countries didn’t get the vaccine volumes at the times they were promised.
But Mr Hunt said there had been “significant improvement” on the flows of the vaccine out of Europe.
“What we’ve seen out of Europe in the last week has been a significant improvement both with the flows of Oxford-AstraZeneca and with the flows of Pfizer,” he said.
Despite the improving circumstances, Mr Morrison warned that things could change.
“Of course there are some uncertainties that are obviously there regarding supplies, particularly from overseas and they relate to issues sometimes beyond our control,” he said.
Front line workers and the elderly are the first priority group set to get the jab by the end of the month, followed by those with underlying conditions or disabilities, and indigenous groups.
The wider adult population will begin being vaccinated by mid-year.
Feature image: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
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