| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Australian PM promises more than 5.7 million COVID-19 shots to states these 2 months

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday that states and territories will get more doses of COVID-19 vaccines soon, to avoid further delays in an immunization drive that has hit several roadblocks.

Australian states have been asking for increased supplies of vaccines after the country recommended providing AstraZencea shots for over 60s only due to blood clot concerns, throwing the rollout into disarray.

Health authorities said the Pfizer vaccine rollout is currently “operating in a resource-constrained environment” but distribution is likely to speed up from August.

“As we get into that third-quarter, fourth-quarter, we will have far freer flows of Pfizer and start to be able to allocate that more freely,” Lieutenant General John Frewen, the head of the country’s vaccine taskforce, told reporters in Canberra after a meeting of the national cabinet.

Australia has to rely on overseas shipments for its Pfizer shots while the AstraZeneca ones are produced locally.

Officials expect to ship 2.3 million Pfizer doses to states this month and 3.4 million next month.

Only 4 percent of Australia’s adult population of 20 million have been fully inoculated while more than 25 percent have had at least their first dose. About 6.5 million total shots have been administered so far.

The federal government’s promise of more doses for states come as New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, fights to contain its latest outbreak of the highly-infectious Delta variant, first detected in India.

  • Reuters