Australia to vaccinate entire population by October

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Health authorities in Australia on Thursday said they were aiming at vaccinating the entire population against COVID-19 by October, saying they had secured 150 million doses of vaccine.

According to Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Australia had secured an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which was approved for use in the country late in January, bringing the total doses of vaccine secured to 150 million.

The total number includes 20 million Pfizer doses, 53.8 million Oxford/AstraZeneca doses, 51 million Novavax doses and 25.5 as part of the vaccine distribution alliance Covax, Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a joint press conference.

“We’re starting initially with Pfizer at the end of this month, and then with AstraZeneca in March and later we’ll be scaling up with the aim to vaccinate the population by October,” said Brendan Murphy, head of the Scientific Industry Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines.

Hunt said AstraZeneca and Pfizer confirmed that at this point in time the vaccine roll-out remained on track, subject to shipping.

The health minister also said all the people living in Australia would receive the vaccine.

Australia, a nation of around 25 million people, has recorded around 28,500 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, significantly a lower per capita rate than most developed countries.

The national death toll currently stands at 909 and no deaths were recorded in January.

Australia has taken a strict lockdown approach, alongside a system of rigorous testing and tracing to contain the virus. (dpa/NAN)

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