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Australia’s vaccine target unlikely

AUSTRALIA looks unlikely to meet its goal of vaccinating four million people by next month, but the country’s health department secretary is “confident we can get those first doses into the arms of everybody by the end of October”.

Prime minister, Scott Morrison said on Sunday international supply issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine had meant the vaccine rollout was slightly behind schedule, but the government believed everyone would still be able to receive their first vaccine by October.

The government had originally set a goal to vaccinate four million Australians by early April, but as of Friday, just under 160,000 people had received their first vaccination, including just over 30,000 in Victoria.

“The critical factor in controlling the pace of the vaccination program is the supply and production of vaccines,” Mr Morrison said.

“In these early phases, that has obviously been impacted by the fact that we’d anticipated on our contracted arrangements to have some 3.8 million vaccines imported from overseas.

“That's been 700,000.

“With what's been going on in Europe in particular, that to have been successful in getting 700,000, that has been quite a Herculean effort.”

Mr Morrison said the government would look to increase the number of vaccines produced locally to ensure everyone was vaccinated by October.

The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine being produced by CSL in Melbourne is expected to be rolled out at the end of the month and Department of Health secretary, Brendan Murphy said the government was looking to ramp up production.

The government had previously ordered 50 million locally produced vaccine doses.

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