Sunday, 28 February, 2021

First Pfizer vaccine shipment arrives in Australia

Update First Pfizer vaccine shipment arrives in Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt. Source AAP Mick Tsikas
Cecil Davis | 15 February, 2021, 09:21

Martin Foley, Health minister of Australia's no.2 most populous state - Victoria, said Monday that Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is likely to arrive in the country at the end of the week.

"Vaccines are scheduled to land in Australia before the end of the week, if not earlier", he told reporters on Sunday.

"We have always been cautious and always working quietly behind the scenes for more".

While touring one of the company's cold-chain logistics facility, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the nation was about to embark on "one of the largest logistic tasks Australia has ever undertaken".

"We have said that the vaccine roll-out would commence in late February and I can confirm that the vaccine roll-out is on track", Mr Hunt said.

That includes nearly 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the vast majority to be manufactured in Melbourne, and more than 51 million from Novavax.

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Australia's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is set to arrive in the country within days. That includes making sure they have been kept at the correct temperature and that no seals have been broken.

Mr Hunt said the first vials of locally made doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were also being manufactured.

It's hoped the national vaccine rollout will begin from next week, but the exact date remains unknown.

To improve access for migrant communities, the government has released a 1.3 million-dollar plan* to ensure materials are translated for Australians who speak English as a second language.

"(It's) for the communities, multicultural Australian communities to themselves lead their own outreach", Mr Hunt said.