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Rabu, 31 Maret 2021

Australia's COVID vaccine rollout started off slow — but will it affect when you get it? - ABC News

At the start of the year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke of his hope that by the end of March, the COVID-19 vaccine would be in the arms of 4 million Australians.

But as it stands on the last day of March, less than 700,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered — just over 16 per cent of the target that was set in January.

Here's how Australia's vaccine rollout is tracking, and where you fit into it.

How many people has Australia vaccinated?

As of today, Australia has vaccinated 670,000 people.

But the numbers are well short of where the Prime Minister initially hoped we would be at this stage.

A pair of gloved hands uses a syringe to measure a vaccine.
Ausralia is now manufacturing its own AstraZeneca vaccine.(

ABC News: Isabella Higgins

)

A determining factor in this is an international shortfall in supply — Mr Morrison said the target of 4 million shots by April had been ditched weeks ago in response to the changing circumstances.

"That was dispensed with because of the problems we had with vaccines not coming from overseas," he said.

"Of course at the outset, when 3 million or so vaccines aren't able to be delivered to Australia because of the vaccine release out of Europe, in particular, that was obviously going to impact the early success."

The European Union has blocked some vaccine shipments destined for Australia, citing the country's low infection rate and skyrocketing cases in Europe.

But Australia's local manufacturing of the AstraZeneca vaccine is ramping up, and 72,000 vaccinations were administered yesterday.

Does this change when I am eligible for the COVID vaccine?

Not according to the Government.

Most of the people vaccinated so far are from phase 1A of the vaccination rollout, which encompasses people in aged care homes and frontline health workers.

Phase 1B, which includes people over 70 and Indigenous people over 55, commenced last week.

Greg Hunt mid-sentence
Mr Hunt would not say when phase 2B would begin.(

AAP: James Ross

)

Vaccination of those groups will continue for some time, before stages 2A and 2B commence later in the year.

Government releases requesting expressions of interest from community pharmacies suggest stage 2A, which includes people over 50 and all Indigenous people, is set to begin in May.

Stage 2B, which covers the rest of the adult population, will follow that, and the Government is maintaining its commitment to have every Australian receive their first shot by the end of October.

Health Minister Greg Hunt today refused to put a firm start date on phase 2B.

"We've talked about towards the middle of the year for phase 2A and we'll judge those on when we start to see a decline in demand for each of the respective phases," he said.

"We haven't changed our time frames with regards to any of our milestones, and when we do, we will indicate that."

Why isn't it happening faster?

We're now more than a month into Australia's vaccine rollout, and millions of doses behind where the Government hoped we would be.

A slanging match has erupted between the federal government and some states over whether more vaccines should have been administered by this point.

Putting aside the global supply issues, members of the federal government have accused states, particularly Queensland, of hoarding vaccines unnecessarily.

"They have done three-fifths of bugger all," deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud said.

But the Queensland government has defended its actions, saying it is holding vaccines because there is a lack of certainty about supplies, and it has a responsibility to offer timely vaccinations to people who have already received their first dose of the vaccine.

"We have not had that commitment from the Commonwealth that those second doses will be there." Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

The Commonwealth says it is responsible for ensuring there is enough supply for second doses.

GP clinics, which are the bedrock of stage 1B's delivery, have also raised concerns about a lack of supply throttling the number of vaccinations they can deliver.

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2021-03-31 06:19:04Z
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