From July 19, Australians will have access to up to a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week and, by Christmas, every Australian will have been offered a vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced. Currently, between 300,000 and 350,000 doses of Pfizer are available each week.
Government figures indicate about 6.11 million people over the age of 16 (about 30 per cent) have had a single dose, and only 1.63 million people, or 7.9 per cent, are fully vaccinated.
Morrison announced on Thursday that the government would be ramping up the vaccine supply, with the 4.5 million doses expected to arrive in September now brought forward. The PM said the “plan” is to get every willing Australian vaccinated by the end of the year.
“We have been working with Pfizer now for quite some period of time to bring forward our supplies,” Morrison told Today.
Just hours after the PM unveiled the ramp up of the vaccine, Pfizer clarified that the number of vaccines set to reach Australia had not increased. The company said that while the exact details of their agreement with the government were confidential, the delivery schedule would be continually updated in line with the “ramp-up” in the vaccine’s availability in Australia.
“Deliveries to Australia remain on track, and we continue to update our weekly delivery schedule in line with the ramp-up,” it said.
“Pfizer is committed to delivering 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Australia over 2021. The total number of 40 million doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia over 2021 has not changed. We continue to work closely with the government to support their rollout program.
“We expect the remainder of the 40 million doses to be delivered by the end of 2021.”
The news comes as New South Wales grapples with its worst Covid-19 outbreak this year, with the PM also announcing Sydney would be receiving 150,000 extra doses of Pfizer and 150,000 AstraZeneca vaccines. Morrison has urged those in the worst-affected areas of NSW to get their second AstraZeneca dose within eight weeks of their first jab, rather than the 12 weeks originally suggested.
While the increase of Pfizer jabs may be exactly the news many Australians have been hoping for, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said it is important Australians continue to get the AstraZeneca vaccine and not wait for Pfizer shots.
“If your doctor advises you that it is safe to have AstraZeneca, please take it,” he told Channel Nine. “More so than ever, we need people to be vaccinated, especially in south-western Sydney.”