Pfizer supplies in Australia to rise to 1 million doses a week

Australia will soon have access to up to one million doses a week of the coronavirus Pfizer vaccine, with supplies set to triple.

The country currently has between 300,000 and 350,000 Pfizer vaccines doses a week to administer.

That will jump to one million a week in the second half of July.

In August, Australia will receive 4.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines, which is significantly more than first anticipated.

Meanwhile, Australians under lockdown in NSW have been urged to get their second AstraZeneca dose within eight weeks of their first jab.

Sydney is in the grips of an ongoing outbreak, with NSW reporting 44 new local coronavirus cases on Friday as state authorities further tightened stay-at-home rules and warned of higher numbers to come.

A 12-week gap between AstraZeneca jabs has been recommended as the most effective way to protect people.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants people in the worst-affected areas who have received a first jab to make second dose appointments closer to eight weeks.

This was consistent with the advice of the national expert immunisation panel ATAGI, he said on Thursday.

In the three Sydney councils areas with the most COVID infections, about half of those aged over 70 have received a first dose.

An extra 300,000 AstraZeneca – which is recommended for people over 60 – and Pfizer vaccines will be made available for NSW.

AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine is now only recommended for Australians over 60.

Mr Morrison is confident the extra Pfizer supplies will give the troubled vaccine rollout a shot in the arm.

And with another 1300 GPs joining the rollout to deliver the Pfizer doses, he believes the rollout can be completed by Christmas.

“We really are hitting the marks we need to hit,” he told ABC radio on Friday.

“We’ve done a lot of catch-up, particularly over the month of June, and that’s seen us now hitting the levels we need to get this job done and have everyone offered a dose by the end of the year.”

Pfizer has promised Australia 40 million doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine shipments are being fast-tracked by several months but the total order will not increase.

Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles said the boosted Pfizer supplies were desperately needed.

“We need those doses because the prime minister promised we would be at the front of the queue and in fact we’re languishing at the bottom of the OECD ladder,” he told the Nine Network.

“The failure to properly vaccinate the population is what’s underpinning the lockdowns we are experiencing around the country now, particularly in NSW.”

State and territory leaders will meet with Mr Morrison at a virtual national cabinet meeting on Friday, with the vaccine rollout remaining high on the agenda.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the virus could not be allowed to circulate in the community.

“If we chose to live with this while the rates of vaccinations are at 9 per cent, we will see thousands and thousands of hospitalisations and death,” she said.

National cabinet will also discuss Australian Health Protection Principal Committee research on alternative quarantine arrangements for vaccinated Australians.

Agreement is expected on mandatory jabs for disability support workers after the AHPPC recommended following a similar order imposed on aged care workers.

Mr Morrison will also talk with state and territory leaders about vaccinating fly-in, fly-out workers.

-with AAP

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