Australia preparing for arrival of first COVID-19 vaccines

Australia preparing for arrival of first COVID-19 vaccines

CANBERRA: Australia’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is set to arrive in the country within days, reports Xinhua news agency.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said about 80,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would arrive in Australia “before the end of the week, if not earlier.”

“Because this is the most precious of cargoes, we are being cautious with our details in a highly competitive global world,” he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday afternoon.

Australia has acquired 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which remains the only vaccine to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Hunt said the TGA would conduct safety checks on the vaccines upon arrival and that Australia remained on track to begin administering vaccines to priority groups at the end of February.

“The TGA will ensure that the numbers are correct, that they, in particular, haven’t had any inflight actions that damage quality such as a loss of temperature,” he said.

Under the planned rollout the government aims to have every Australian who wants a vaccine inoculated against COVID-19 by October.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack conceded that the rollout would not “go flawlessly” while recently touring a vaccine storage facility, according to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

As of Sunday afternoon, there had been 28,898 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the numbers of local and overseas acquired cases in the last 24 hours were two and four respectively, according to the latest figures updated on Sunday evening from the Department of Health.