Australia’s new vaccine rollout plan revealed
All Australians aged over 50 will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination from June, according to detailed new plans for the rollout released by the federal government.
By that time, the 678,000 Australians in phase 1a of the rollout - including aged care residents and frontline workers - should have received the two jabs required to keep them safe.
From next Monday, phase 1b will begin for 6.1 million Australians including anyone aged over 70 and 2 million younger adults with underlying medical conditions.
More than 300,000 doses will be given to that group next week, increasing to 400,000 doses the week after that and then about 500,000 doses a week for the two months from April 12.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said the "critical swing factor" in the rollout was supply and production.
He revealed Australia had only received 700,000 vaccine from overseas, well down on the 3.8m that were meant to have been delivered under "contracted arrangements".
"If we had been right now solely reliant on the international importation of vaccines then we would not have a vaccination program in this country," he said.
Despite the government's updated rollout plan showing its initial target of vaccinating 4m people by early April will not be reached, Mr Morrison insisted it was still on track to administer at least one jab to every Australian by October.
Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said the rollout was a "dynamic program" that had to be adjusted according to logistics, supply and circumstances that change each week.
"Of course, we want to vaccinate as quickly as possible, but our strategy is careful, measured, ramp up to protect our population," he said.
"We are not out there trying to control an uncontrolled pandemic."
The first locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines are scheduled to be administered from next Monday as the CSL factory in Melbourne ramps up to produce one million week from later this month.
Prof Murphy said the factory was already operating 24 hours a day but authorities had asked them to "go harder".
"If we can achieve that, we will get first doses in everyone's arm in September and essentially get second doses in arms for everyone in October and we're working hard to try and achieve that," he said.
"We are working as hard as we can with the available vaccine supply that we have, and CSL are doing a mammoth job."
By June, Australians will be able to access the jab from more than 7000 sites, as extra GP clinics and pharmacies are involved to help expand the rollout to the wider adult population.
The government expects to have 50 million doses available by October.
Originally published as Australia's new vaccine rollout plan revealed