Australian PM Promises to Send More Covid-19 Vaccines

Australian states and territories will soon receive more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this as authorities seek to avoid further delays in an immunization effort that has hit several snags.

UMMATIMES - Australian states have asked for an increase in vaccine supplies after Australia last week announced a policy change recommending AstraZeneca injections for people only over 60 over fears of a freeze, throwing the rollout into disarray.

"They all got the extra dose ... it increased again in July when the additional dose of Pfizer came out," Morrison told radio station 2GB on Monday (21/6).

Morrison did not specify the number of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine each state would receive. Australia's national vaccination program missed several initial targets due to uneven international vaccine supplies while changes to medical advice on AstraZeneca doses further slowed an already sluggish programme.

Only 4 per cent of Australia's adult population of 20 million have been fully vaccinated while more than 25 per cent have had at least their first dose. To speed up rollout efforts, the federal government plans to distribute approximately 2.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccine by June to states and territories, and seeks to increase this to 3.4 million through July.

Australia relies on overseas shipments for its Pfizer production while AstraZeneca is produced locally. Morrison held a meeting of the national cabinet, the group of federal, state and territory leaders, on Monday, three weeks earlier than scheduled amid turmoil in the vaccination program. The next meeting is scheduled for July 9.

The government's pledge for more doses to the state comes as New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state, struggles to contain the latest outbreak, which grew to nine cases over the weekend. The state of Victoria on Monday reported one new locally acquired case linked to an existing cluster.

Meanwhile Queensland, which reported a new infection on Sunday (20/6), reported no new cases. New South Wales is expected to report its latest figures on Monday.