First shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Australia
Officials say that COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Australia overnight, it was the first batch in a swap deal with the United Kingdom.
Australia is utilizing COVID-19 vaccines to speed up its vaccination programs as it confronts a surge in cases that has put more than half of the country’s 25 million people in lockdown.
The vaccinations arrived on Monday. People in the country’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the capital, Canberra, are subjected to stay-at-home restrictions, which the government says will be gradually eased once 70 percent of people over the age of 16 have been vaccinated.
Australia is under pressure to expand its vaccination programme, and this week it reached agreements with the United Kingdom and Singapore for a total of 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, double this month’s supply.
One million doses of Moderna will also arrive in Australia in “a week or so,” according to Frewen, widening a vaccine rollout that includes AstraZeneca.
On current rates, just over 38% of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, with the country likely to reach 70% by early November.
On Monday, New South Wales, which is at the centre of the newest outbreak, reported 1,281 new cases and five deaths. On Monday, Victoria, which includes Melbourne, reported 246 new cases, the highest daily increase of the year.
Despite recent outbreaks, Australia’s coronavirus infections and deaths have remained low in comparison to many other countries, with 61,600 cases and 1,039 deaths.
“There will be another set of flights in a couple of days, but we’ll pretty much be getting a million of the four million every week over the next four weeks,” Lieutenant General John Frewen told.
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