Australia secures another 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Australia secures another 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

The Commonwealth Government has acquired an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, meaning Australia will receive 20 million doses of it in 2021.

In total Australia now has access to more than 150 million vaccine doses.

It comes as the country is due to commence a vaccination program in late February for the first priority group of vulnerable Australians.

"[Vaccination] is the big agenda item for us, obviously, because it provides the pathway to so many of the other things we wish to achieve this year," the Prime Minister said today.

"We are still, though, on track to commence later this month.

"That puts us in a very good position, particularly with our sovereign vaccine production capability, ahead of many countries, like New Zealand, for example, we understand, won't commence until April, I think it is."

As the rollout begins, people who need protection the most will get the vaccine first. This includes aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline health care workers, and quarantine and border workers.

The priority groups have been determined based on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) which oversees Australia's immunisation program.

The Australian Government is also extending free access to COVID-19 vaccines to all visa-holders in Australia.

"I encourage people to get vaccinated when their turn comes every vaccination helps us defeat the virus," Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

"Australians understand that vaccines work. They save lives and improve lives. They protect lives. We can be confident that every COVID-19 vaccine approved in this country will be safe and effective.

"Australia is a vaccination nation. We have one the highest vaccination rates in the world."

Secretary of the Department of Health Professor Brendan Murphy said the additional purchase gives Australia more options.

"There was always an option to increase our stake in the mRNA vaccination, should registration and trials be successful," Professor Murphy said.

"We are now in the wonderful position of having three vaccines rolling out this year - two of them early, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca, depending on the TGA registration, of course, of AstraZeneca, and then Novavax later on.

"All of these three vaccines have now been shown to be highly effective at preventing clinical COVID disease, and particularly severe COVID disease. That is a position that we wouldn't have dreamt of a year ago, six months ago. It is a very, very nice position to be in."

Updated at 3.49pm AEDT on 4 February 2021.

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