Australia is well placed for the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, once clinical trials and the regulator has confirmed safety and effectiveness.
Under the Morrison Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, Australia has secured 134.8 million doses through advance purchasing agreements with four suppliers: AstraZeneca/Oxford, University of Queensland/CSL, Novavax and Pfizer/BioNTech.
In addition, Australia has access to a further 25 million doses through the COVAX facility.
This is well in excess of covering the entire population of 25 million.
Against that backdrop, Chris Bowen’s comments are not only patently incorrect, they are weird and irresponsible. Labor clearly can’t add up, in claiming it’s not enough.
The Government has already secured distribution within Australia for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.
Indeed the manufacturer has humiliatingly refuted Chris Bowen’s statement. Sometimes Chris, it is better to remain silent if you have no idea what you are talking about.
The Australian Government continues to undertake thorough planning to ensure the doses Australia receives are kept as safe and secure as possible. The Australian Government continues to prepare for the temperature requirement scenarios for all candidates, including: 2-8 ºC, -20ºC and -70ºC.
Tenders are being issued today to co-ordinate the distribution of the vaccines across the country to deliver on those requirements.
Suppliers that have a proven track record in vaccine logistics and distribution or booking systems, tracking and reporting of vaccines are being invited to participate in this process by limited tender.
Australians know that we have one of the best vaccine distributions in the world, backed up by the latest immunisation rates which have hit a new record.
Our Plan is on track for the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program within the first quarter of 2021.
The Shadow Minister for Health continues to show how out of his depth he is in understanding the fundamental necessities of securing access to and preparing a national rollout for world-leading vaccine candidates.
If the Shadow Minister had taken the time to read this morning’s announcement, he would have seen that the Government’s vaccine roadmap is clear, and each agreement has scheduled delivery dates.
Preliminary advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is that the priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine are those people who are at increased risk of exposure, such as health and aged care workers, the elderly and those working in services critical to societal functioning.
Australia will continue to listen to the advice of the medical experts and act accordingly.