Australia Secures 20 Million Doses Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine After AstraZeneca Restriction

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An Israeli health worker prepares to administer a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine inside a van in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa
An Israeli health worker prepares to administer a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine inside a van in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa AFP / JACK GUEZ

The Australian government has secured at least 20 million more doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday. 

Morrison confirmed the news at a press conference after the National Cabinet meeting with states and territories. The deal was completed overnight.

“The Australian government has secured overnight an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in line with the advice of the scientific advisory group on vaccines,” Morrison announced,  News.com.au  noted.

Pfizer's vaccine is the only one recommended for people aged 50 and under. The country has restricted the use of AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of rare blood clots being linked to it.

However, Morrison's good news comes with a caveat -- the vaccines won't arrive until the fourth quarter of 2021, or sometime in October to December.

“We will obviously be doing everything we can to seek to move that forward where we can but that is very welcome news,” the prime minister added. 

Not everyone was happy with the news, however. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese slammed the government for its vaccine rollout plan, calling it a "debacle."

“It’s very clear that Scott Morrison has got this wrong. The rollout of the vaccine is a debacle,” Albanese said.

“He couldn’t even say if people would be vaccinated by the end of 2021."

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on Thursday said healthcare workers under 50 will be prioritized for the Pfizer vaccine,  ABC News  reported. 

Aside from the 20 million doses, the government also has a pre-purchase agreement with Novovax that is expected to arrive in the second half of the year. 

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