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Supply delays could threaten start of Australia's Covid vaccine rollout

Supply delays could threaten start of Australia's Covid vaccine rollout

1/22/2021 7:51:00 AM

Supply delays could threaten start of Australia's Covid vaccine rollout

States and territories have not been told how many doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be sent to Australia by mid-February

But concerns about the rollout had grown due to European countries reporting Pfizer supply delays andthe lower efficacy rates of the AstraZeneca vaccinethat would form the bulk of Australia’s vaccination program.Morrison told reporters in Brisbane he had spoken to European leaders earlier in the week about “some difficulties that they’re encountering” and Australia would be “watching that very closely”.

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“We were able to provide as much update as possible today to the premiers and chief ministers – they know what we know,” Morrison said. “There are some things in our control and some things that are not.”Morrison said Australia had “paid a premium” to ensure it could produce the AstraZeneca vaccine onshore so that it would not be “exposed to those vulnerabilities to the supply chain like are occurring in other countries”.

“At this stage we’re relying on the delivery of the vaccines from those producing countries at this early stage.“I think we’re being very careful to be clear about expectations here. We know that we’d be starting at a small scale before moving to a much greater scale.”

Morrison described the intention to begin vaccinations in mid to late February as an “indicative timeframe” that would be “subject to any impacts on production schedules overseas”.“I know that Pfizer is retooling, upgrading their capacity in Europe to produce and increase the output of what they’re doing there. There are a huge demands across Europe from other clients.”

Read moreThe shadow health minister, Chris Bowen, told Guardian Australia the government “needs to be honest with the public”.“When they announced twice, under pressure, that the vaccine would be delivered earlier – was that ever guaranteed or was it just more spin?”

Earlier, Morrison promised to “update the Australian people” when more information was available, and referred the question to the health minister, Greg Hunt.On Thursday Hunt said he had spoken to Pfizer as recently as Wednesday and the advice was Australia was “still on track for first vaccines to be received in February”.

“The final date hasn’t been confirmed, but that was the advice … from the country head in Australia.”Hunt said Australia would know the number and “pace” of dose delivery in coming weeks, promising to share any changes in timetable “immediately”.National cabinet was

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not able to agree on an increase to Australia’s international arrival cap, despite the federal government seeking more hotel quarantine capacity in Melbourne and among states that had halved their numbers in response to more infectious strains of Covid-19.

Morrison said the federal government would now seek agreements with individual states to raise capacity before 15 February, when the deal lapses and another 2,500 places a week were due to be made available again.Morrison noted Australia had organised 70 repatriation flights, and a further 20 would be provided above the regular arrival cap.

Morrison said Queensland’s proposals for regional quarantine were “briefly referred to” at national cabinet, and he would seek more detail in a meeting with Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday afternoon.Ahead of the meeting, Morrison dampened hopes of a breakthrough on regional quarantine, warning more work was needed to persuade locals such an arrangement would benefit them.

Asked about whether the vaccine would be required for health and aged care workers and visitors to aged care, the deputy chief medical officer, Michael Kidd, said “at this point” health leaders had not recommended mandatory vaccinations.He said that was because authorities were still learning about whether vaccines prevent transmission and the vaccines had not been rolled out yet.

“We don’t want to exclude people from aged care because they don’t fall into the priority groups,” he said. “We want our loved ones to see relatives in aged care.” Read more: The Guardian »

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Why be surprised- announcements do not replace actions Great to be at the front of the queue. I don't hold a syringe I don't manufacture vaccines I don't fly a plane I don't deliver Ever ScottyFromMarketing ausFRAUD auspol The image goes perfectly with the headline. 🤡 Good