Canberra (Tribune International, PM Office Release, 4 Feb 2021): The Australian Government has secured an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine on the advice of the Scientific Industry Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines led by Professor Brendan Murphy.
Through the Government’s Advance Purchase Agreement with Pfizer, this additional 10 million vaccines means Australia will now receive 20 million Pfizer doses in 2021.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government is committed to providing safe and effective vaccines free to everyone in Australia.
“Securing the additional Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is another positive step in protecting Australians from COVID-19,” the Prime Minister said.
“We now have access to over 150 million vaccine doses, ensuring we remain a world leader in the fight against the virus.”
The vaccination program remains on track for commencement of delivery in late February to people in the first priority group, Phase 1a.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said making safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone in Australia is a key priority for the Australia Government.
“I encourage people to get vaccinated when their turn comes – every vaccination helps us defeat the virus,” Minister Hunt said.
“Australians understand that vaccines work. They save lives and improve lives. They protect lives. We can be confident that every COVID-19 vaccine approved in this country will be safe and effective.”
“Australia is a vaccination nation—we have one the highest vaccination rates in the world.”
As the rollout begins, people who need protection the most will get the vaccine first. This includes aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline health care workers, and quarantine and border workers.
The priority groups have been determined based on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) which oversees Australia’s highly successful immunisation program.
The Australian Government is also extending free access to COVID-19 vaccines to all visa-holders in Australia.
This will include refugees, asylum seekers, temporary protection visa holders and those on bridging visas. People currently residing in detention facilities will also be eligible, including those whose visas have been cancelled.
“It is vital that we offer vaccines to all people living in Australia to achieve the maximum level of coverage.” the Prime Minister said.
Australia has entered into four separate agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, if they are proved to be safe and effective. Combined, these agreements will ensure access to approximately 150 million doses.
The Australia Government, states and territories, regulators and the health and medical sectors are working together to finalise arrangements under the Australian Vaccination Strategy and detailed roll out plans. Further information about the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine National Roll-out Strategy can be found at www.health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines