Canberra (Tribune International, PM Office Release, 21 June 2021): The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response to the Australian COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy.
National Cabinet continues to work together to address issues and find solutions for the health and economic consequences of COVID-19.
There have been 30,356 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 910 people have died. More than 19.7 million tests have been undertaken in Australia.
Globally there have been over 178.4 million cases and sadly over 3.8 million deaths, with 305,611 new cases and 6,700 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in many countries around the world.
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out continues to expand. To date 6,590,741 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia, including 34,712 in the previous 24 hours. In the previous 7 days, more than 723,442 vaccines have been administered in Australia. To date 26.7 per cent of the Australian adult population have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including over 65.2 per cent of over 70 year olds.
National Cabinet agreed on the imperative to work together to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Australians as quickly as possible.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, Coordinator General of Operation COVID Shield, Professor Brendan Murphy, Chair of the Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group and Secretary of the Health Department, and Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly provided a detailed briefing on the vaccination program.
Vaccine Roll Out
National Cabinet noted the updated advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the changes to the COVID-19 vaccination program.
The updated advice of ATAGI recommends the Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine for adults under the age of 60, and that people aged 50-59 can now book appointments for the Pfizer vaccine.
All states and territories agreed to prioritise Pfizer appointments for people aged 40-59 and Phase 1a and 1b eligible people under the age of 40 years of age.
The Coordinator General of Operation COVID Shield, Lieutenant General Frewen, provided each state and territory government with planning projections of Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses for their jurisdiction over the remainder of 2021, to inform state and territory vaccination plans.
The Coordinator General confirmed that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine allocations are provided on a proportional population basis. The Coordinator General confirmed that the Commonwealth delivers all first dose allocations to states and territories with matching second dose allocations delivered three weeks after first doses are administered. This ensures that states and territories have control over allocation of first and second doses administration based on the supply schedules.
National Cabinet noted that the Commonwealth is fast tracking plans to expand the number of access points for Pfizer. By the end of July, all 136 Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics, 40 ACCHS and 1,300 GPs will be administering Pfizer. Many more primary care providers will be offered the chance to administer mRNA vaccines as the supply of Pfizer significantly increases and the first supplies of Moderna arrive in September/October.
National Cabinet noted the forward COVID-19 vaccines communications strategy.
The Coordinator General confirmed that based on our expected supply picture, Australia remains on-track to offer every eligible person in Australia a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.