Australia news live: Pfizer vaccine approved in Australia; south-east of country set for scorching weather

1 month ago 14

Vaccine approval paves way for late February rollout; high temperatures have authorities on alert amid bushfire risk in SA, NSW and Victoria. Follow all the latest news and updates, live

10.47pm GMT

Another reporter asked if the Australian government had confirmed what percentage of the vaccine doses Australia has secured would potentially go to Pacific nations or Indonesia, given that Australia has contractual arrangements to secure enough doses to vaccinate the population three times over.

Morrison said foreign affairs minister Marise Payne has begun working with Pacific Island nations about sharing those excess doses, “and the first step of that is to prepare them to be able to administer the vaccine”.

So there is a fair bit of work going in aid support to ensure that they are in a capacity to actually deliver the vaccine. We are going through the rollout timetables and programs with them now. They don’t start the same time as we do here. The first thing we need to do is ensure that they are equipped to be able to administer the vaccine across their population. That is the first step and I have had some fantastic messages back from our Pacific family leaders over the course of the last week. Those calls have been well received. The Pacific leaders are appreciative of the proactive role that Australia has taken to ensure that they will be in a position to administer that vaccine.

10.43pm GMT

First question: a reporter asked if Australia was impacted by Pfizer’s production delays in Europe, when previously it had been suggested that Australia would get vaccines manufactured in the US.

Scott Morrison said:

Firstly, no Australian vaccines – ie vaccines destined for Australia – have been diverted anywhere else. Let me be clear about that. There are challenges for all the big producers around the world for the reasons that I said before.

I note that – I think it is actually valuable to bring everybody into the confidence of the discussions with Pfizer. They have had to pause some of their supply to major nations and that has had an impact on some of their programs. For us we are commencing in exactly the window. We had not put a specific date – and on multiple occasions to questions to many of you here, we have indicated that the date that we would have would be dependent on approval and then on shipping times. Those shipping times were provided last night, which means we are in a position to commence in late February and our guidance has always been for a window.

I would say that has undoubtedly been influenced by Pfizer’s global capacity and the fact that we are within our window is indicative of a very strong contract and a very strong position.They reaffirmed to us that they are on track to complete all of their contractual contracts, timeframes and obligations.

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