Pfizer aplenty, angst over vaccine targets

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Australians who have been holding off getting a coronavirus vaccination or waiting for a Pfizer jab will have no excuse in the coming weeks.

Some 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine secured by the federal government from Singapore are now being dispatched around the country after getting the nod of approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

And the first supply of the vaccine from the UK arrived in Sydney on Sunday night – a larger 450,000 batch instead of the 190,000 doses originally expected – with the rest of a four million order due to arrive through September.

The additional supplies will support the national COVID-19 response plan to get to 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets to enable most restrictions to be eased.

So far, more than 35 per cent of the eligible population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated with two doses.

However, there remains a dispute regarding the vaccine targets set in the plan.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has long argued that he won’t be rushing to open his borders, saying on Sunday it would have to be a vaccination rate of 80 to 90 per cent before he sets a date to end restrictions.

“There seems to be some kind of other illness out there other than COVID which seems to infect Liberal politicians in NSW, whereby they think everyone else wants COVID,” Mr McGowan said.

“I cannot think for the life of me, why they think we want to import it here, before such time, we can have, as many people as humanly possible, vaccinated.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has expressed similar reluctance to automatically open her borders once the vaccination rate reaches 80 per cent full coverage.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said he has an ambition to get to 90 per cent, but said he will follow the national plan goals of 70 and 80 per cent.

“But in terms of opening at 80 per cent – and this is absolutely one thing that I want to be absolutely clear with Tasmanians about – we’re not going to be opening our borders at a time that’s going to put our health at risk,” he said.

NSW reported 1485 new virus and three deaths on Sunday, bringing the toll in this outbreak to 126.

The three included a woman in her 50s and a man and a women in their 70s.

Victoria recorded a further 183 new virus cases on Sunday, 101 of which are linked to known cases and outbreaks.

The third jurisdiction in lockdown, the ACT, reported 15 new cases, which was less than half of the record 32 reported the previous day.

Queensland recorded one new case, the mother of a four-year-old girl who had already tested positive to the virus.


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