Australia will soon be receiving 1 million Pfizer doses each week, in a change the Prime Minister says brings forward the vaccination rollout.
And while the government announcement does not mean Australia gets any more doses of Pfizer than previously planned, it does mean some will arrive sooner.
Here’s what that could mean for Australia’s vaccination rollout.
What’s changing with the Pfizer vaccine rollout?
Since mid-June the Pfizer vaccine has been recommended for Australians aged under 60, putting pressure on the limited supply of doses.
Currently, Australia has between 300,000 and 500,000 doses of Pfizer per week to administer, but demand outstrips that.
But from July 19 Pfizer has confirmed Australia can expect 1 million doses a week.
That means 4.5 million doses of Pfizer will be delivered in August, when such a number initially was not expected until September.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that would prop up the government’s existing plans to offer every willing Australian a first vaccine dose by the end of the year.
“If we keep these rates up we’ll hit that,” he said.
The acceleration means more doses about one month sooner than expected, but …
These aren’t new or ‘extra’ doses of Pfizer
Australia has contracted Pfizer for 40 million doses to be delivered by the end of the year, and the doses announced today come from that pool.
Pfizer has released a statement saying the changes were “in line with our weekly delivery schedule”.
“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,” a spokeswoman said.
“While the details of our agreement with the Government are confidential, we can confirm that deliveries to Australia remain on track, and continue to progress in line with our weekly delivery schedule.”
Does this change who can get Pfizer?
The eligibility for who can access the Pfizer vaccine has not changed.
AstraZeneca remains the recommended vaccine for people over the age of 60, due to a lower clotting risk in older people and a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said AstraZeneca remained safe and effective.
“If your doctor advises you that it is safe to have AstraZeneca, please take it,” he said.
“More so than ever we need people to be vaccinated.”
The changes coincide with GP clinics beginning to offer the Pfizer vaccine. By the end of the month, 1,300 clinics are expected to be offering doses of the jab.
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