Salem Radio Network News Saturday, July 31, 2021

Health

Australia says Pfizer to expand COVID-19 vaccine supply amid Sydney outbreak

By Renju Jose

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Pfizer will increase COVID-19 vaccine delivery to about one million doses a week from July 19, more than tripling shipments, as Sydney battles its worst outbreak of this year.

As many as 4.5 million Pfizer Inc doses that were expected to arrive in September will become available next month, Morrison said.

“So that’s ramping up … and so we are really hitting our marks now. I know we’ve had challenges over the course of the last four months but we’re hitting those marks now,” Morrison told broadcaster Nine News.

Morrison said Australia should vaccinate all its eligible residents by the end of the year, if medical advice on Pfizer’s vaccine is not changed and supply remains uninterrupted.

Although Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries in keeping its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, its vaccination rollout has been among the slowest due to supply constraints and changing medical advice for its mainstay AstraZeneca shots.

Authorities over the last three months twice revised recommendations on the age group that can receive the AstraZeneca doses over concerns about blood clots. Only people over 60 are recommended to get the AstraZeneca vaccines.

Just over 10% of Australia’s adult population of around 20 million have been fully vaccinated so far, with the federal government under pressure from states to ramp up supply of Pfizer doses, which is administered for people below 60.

Australia has to rely on overseas shipments for Pfizer vaccines, while the AstraZeneca doses are locally manufactured.

The decision on vaccine supplies comes as Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is struggling to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant despite two weeks of a hard lockdown.

On Thursday, New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 this year.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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