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COVID-19 vaccine swap with UK adds 4 million Pfizer doses to Australia’s supplies

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Australia has secured another 4 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a deal with the UK.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said shipments would arrive in Australia in the coming days and weeks.

“The plane is on the tarmac now. It will be leaving tomorrow,” Mr Morrison said.

“Those doses will be coming over the course of the next few weeks, which will see us double the Pfizer doses that we have during September.”

It is the second deal Australia has struck with another country this week to receive Pfizer doses.

Mr Morrison said the new doses would enable the country to reopen sooner.

“This will enable us to bring forward significantly the opportunity for Australia to open up again under the national plan.,” he said.

“This really does break the back of it, I think it’s fair to say.”

The government has agreed to return vaccines to countries it has made deals with later, when Australia is set to have ample supply.

More than 10 million doses a month to Christmas

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia would have “well over” 10 million vaccine doses available this month.

They include locally made AstraZeneca, 1 million doses coming from Poland, and another million doses of Moderna vaccines arriving in the last fortnight of the month.

“At a rate now of over 1.9 million doses a week … we are within sight,” Mr Hunt said.

“If you are eligible, if you have not been vaccinated, this is your chance.”

Another 11 million doses per month are set to be distributed in October and November.

Mr Morrison said vaccines would be distributed evenly between states and territories.

Just over 35 per cent of eligible Australians have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr Morrison would not say when the government expected to reach its milestone of 70 per cent of people having received both doses, which would trigger the next phase of the COVID-19 national plan.

“We haven’t set a date, there’s no magic in a day, there’s no health protection in a day,” he said.

“What there is protection in is having reached the level of vaccination in the community, double-dosed at 70 per cent … and then combining that with the appropriate well-calibrated social measures.”

The government has been criticised for not securing more vaccines sooner.

Mr Morrison said the government had been responsive in dealing with COVID-19.

“Not everything happens the way you like it to, and so you’ve got to adjust, you’ve got to adapt,” he said.

“You’ve got to go and get 4 million more doses, you’ve got to adjust your plans.”

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