Australia

Australia secures extra Moderna vaccine doses from Europe

In addition, he said the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is now recommending Moderna for everyone 12 years and older. The Therapeutic Goods Administration had previously given provisional approval

“That means that everyone from 12 to 59 can go along to their community pharmacy where Moderna is being administered and they will be able to get a family jab,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

He said the additional doses will arrive next weekend and that 1800 pharmacies will begin to receive the vaccines through the week of September 20.

The government has previously secured extra Pfizer vaccines from Poland, Singapore and the UK.

Labor’s health spokesman Mark Butler welcomed the additional Moderna doses, but said it showed a deal should have been done last year.

“What it reflects is our need to go and find surplus doses from other countries,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

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The government is spending a further $50 million for a new campaign to try and convince the 20 per cent of Australians who are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccination to change their minds.

“The ‘First Things First’ campaign charts a path back to our ordinary lives,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Canberra via video link.

More than 66 per cent of eligible Australians aged over 16 have received at least one COVID vaccination and 41 per cent are fully vaccinated, with some 22 million doses administered across the country.

Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said the government is already making preparations for when the 80 per cent target is met and international borders start to reopen.

He told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program a QR code that provides evidence of a person’s vaccination status has been developed and is being sent out to Australia’s overseas posts for trial.

These include the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall told the program he is on board with the national plan and expects state lockdowns and lockouts will be a thing of the past before Christmas when the 80 per cent vaccination rate is met.

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NSW is already planning for its domestic reopening at a 70 per cent vaccination rate, even though its daily infection rates remain stubbornly high, recording a further 1262 cases on Sunday and another seven deaths.

Federal Labor frontbencher and NSW MP Tanya Plibersek is looking forward to reopening, but has some reservations.

“I would be much more confident about the 70 per cent target if it was clear the premier was getting health advice that backed it,” she told ABC’s Insiders program.

She is particularly worried about the state’s tracking and tracing, and the capacity of the hospitals to cope.

“We are not going to get answers to those questions because the premier has suspended parliament and cancelled the daily press briefings,” she said.

Victoria recorded another 392 new infections, while the ACT saw a further 15.

Queensland authorities are breathing a sigh of relief after recording no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, having warned that it might have to take swift action after detecting five cases the day before.

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