Australia will soon have access to up to one million doses of Pfizer vaccines per week, with supplies of the jab set to triple. The country currently has between 300,000 and 350,000 Pfizer vaccines doses a week to administer.
That will jump to one million a week in the second half of July. In August, Australia will receive 4.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines, which is significantly more than first anticipated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is confident the extra Pfizer supplies will give the troubled vaccine rollout a shot in the arm.
And with another 1300 GPs joining the rollout to deliver the Pfizer doses, he believes the rollout can be completed by Christmas. "We really are hitting the marks we need to hit," Mr Morrison told ABC radio on Friday.
"We've done a lot of catch-up, particularly over the month of June, and that's seen us now hitting the levels we need to get this job done and have everyone offered a dose by the end of the year." Pfizer is the recommended vaccine for people aged under 60 so the boost to supplies should improve vaccination rates.
Just 10 per cent of Australians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated with two doses. Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles said the boosted Pfizer supplies were desperately needed. "We need those doses because the prime minister promised we would be at the front of the queue and in fact we're languishing at the bottom of the OECD ladder," he told the Nine Network.
"That's all because the prime minister said this wasn't a race and in fact is obviously is a race, a race against the virus. "The failure to properly vaccinate the population is what's underpinning the lockdowns we are experiencing around the country now, particularly in NSW."
National cabinet will meet on Friday to discuss the coronavirus outbreak in NSW and a proposal to make vaccines mandatory for disability workers. Australians under lockdown in NSW have been urged to get their second AstraZeneca dose within eight weeks of their first jab.
A 12-week gap between AstraZeneca doses provides the most protection against coronavirus. But people can safely receive their second jab within four weeks of their first. The prime minister said people living in outbreak areas needed to balance the reduced effectiveness against the risk of contracting the virus.
"If you're living in southwest Sydney and you're aged over 70, or you're living in an area where the outbreak is most threatening, you're better off being vaccinated with your second dose at eight weeks," he said. "Talk to your doctor, always talk to your doctor. But go and see them."
Federal, state and territory leaders are expected to make vaccines mandatory for disability support workers. A similar order has already been imposed on aged care employees, who must receive at least one jab by mid-September to keep working in the sector.
Daniel McCulloch and Matt Coughlan - AAP