Through a swap deal with Singapore, half a million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine have landed in Australia as a much-needed boost to the vaccine’s rollout in the country.
Flight SQ 7292 landed at Sydney International Airport on Thursday evening with the precious cargo.
The deal gives Australia the 500,000 doses of Pfizer that would expire on the condition that it returns the same amount to Singapore in December.
Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout got a huge boost on Thursday night (pictured, flight SQ 7292 arriving in Sydney)
The federal government hopes the deal will help roll out the vaccine for younger Australians who are now eligible for Pfizer.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the newly landed doses will be distributed across the country based on population.
“This deal gives us the further supplies we need as we bring new groups into the program for Pfizer, including 12 to 15 year olds starting Sept. 13, and the 16 to 39 year olds that have already started,” Prime Minister said. Scott Morrison said.
It comes as suburbs around Sydney and the rest of the country rush to receive jabs in hopes of hitting the magical 70 percent double jab, granting liberties currently unavailable to incarcerated residents.
In an agreement with Singapore, Australia received 500,000 Pfizer vaccines that were due to expire (photo, Pfizer vaccines are unloaded)
Australia will return the same number of shots to Singapore in December (Pfizer vaccines pictured will be unloaded at Sydney Airport Thursday night)
Australians were particularly frustrated at the slow pace at which the vaccine was initially rolled out, prompting the Prime Minister to apologize for his handling of the program earlier this year.
“I’m sorry we weren’t able to get the points we hoped for at the beginning of this year. Of course I am,” Scott Morrison said on July 22.
“But what’s more important is that we’re fully focused on making sure we turn this around.
“I take responsibility for the things that didn’t go as well as we would have liked and I also take responsibility for the things that did work.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said the new doses will increase our stocks as young Australians will soon be eligible for Pfizer.
Since then, Australians aged 16 and over have heeded the call to get vaccinated, a figure that rose to 60.5 percent after receiving their first dose on September 1, from 14.98 percent on July 22.
Australia’s slow start to vaccine rollout was compounded by reports of extremely rare blood clots related to the AstraZeneca shot.
In April, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization said the AstraZeneca shot was only recommended for people over 50 because of a low risk of blood clots in younger people.
This move prompted the government, which planned to use AstraZeneca to vaccinate most people, backing its goal of offering everyone a shot from October to December.
In June, ATAGI raised the minimum recommendation age to 60, eroding confidence and delaying the jab rollout as the government pushed to get more Pfizer into the country.
Australians are rolling up their sleeves to get vaccines and as of September 1, 60.5 percent of Australians have received their first dose (pictured, a 15-year-old Melburnians gets his Pfizer shot on Thursday)
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young even stoked anti-vaxxers when she begged young people not to take the vaccine, saying: ‘I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland to die of a clotting disease that, if they get Covid , probably wouldn’t die.’
Several doctors reported that some people over 60, who are recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine, choose to delay their vaccinations so they can get Pfizer instead.
In the time since these recommendations were released, AstraZeneca has since been recommended for young Australians, with many quickly getting their shot.
The very slow rate at which rare blood clotting was observed after AstraZeneca was administered was outweighed by the risks of contracting Covid, experts said.
The vaccine rollout was not without problems and in June the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization said the AstraZeneca shot was only recommended for people over 50 (pictured, Pfizer vaccines)
Only about 4-6 people per million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca develop the clotting side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia.
On Sept. 2, NSW reached 70 percent of its first dose of vaccination as the state registered 1,288 new cases of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the 70 percent milestone, after 121,000 shots were administered on Wednesday, meant restrictions could finally be eased.
Ms Berejiklian said hitting 70 per cent was an ‘excellent achievement’ but while there was relief for some Sydneysiders, the lockdown would not end until 70 per cent of the state was fully vaccinated.
Anyone who gets a double dose will have all their freedoms back and can go shopping, dine at restaurants and “do the things we’ve all missed,” she said.
This recommendation was because of the risk of very rare blood clots in younger people, before the advice was withdrawn and young people were given AstraZeneca as soon as possible (pictured, a vaccination center in Melbourne)
Then the Prime Minister said at 80 per cent international travel will finally return after more than 18 months and thousands of stranded Australians will be welcomed home.
“That’s something we want to do on behalf of the nation because during a pandemic we can’t pretend we’re separate nations within one nation,” she said.
“We all have to work together. NSW will support the national goal of sticking to the plan, as well as welcoming as many Aussies home as possible.
“I want to see as many Australians as possible across Australia and those who are abroad join their loved ones in Australia for a Merry Christmas.”
NSW reached 70 percent first dose vaccination on Thursday and the goal of 70 percent double vaccination will be reached by the end of October (photo, NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian)
Modeling suggests NSW will reach its 70 percent double vaccination target by October 21, and then residents will finally be given freedoms to visit the pub, restaurants and stadium events.
NSW is the first state in Australia to reach the 70 percent target for the first dose and will likely be the first to reach the target for the second dose.
Meanwhile, Victoria Prime Minister Dan Andrews failed to approach the media, forcing Health Minister Martin Foley to deliver the news that the state had recorded 176 Covid cases.
The Melbourne outbreak now appears to be spiraling out of control, following the same ominous trajectory to the Sydney outbreak.