Australia will get 85 million Pfizer booster shots over the next two years to make sure everyone stays protected from Covid variants.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said securing $85 million worth of jabs was another ‘shot in the arm’ for Australians in the vaccination program.
About 60 million doses will arrive over next year and another 25 million in 2023, in addition to the 40 million already due to arrive in Australia this year.
Delivery will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and enable booster coverage throughout the year and into 2023.
‘We can go into the next year with greater confidence, the supplies will be provided for the course of the year to meet any of those booster requirements,’ the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the acquisition of Pfizer vaccine does as booster jabs at a press conference at the Lodge in Canberra on Sunday
Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten said the announcement was better late than never.
‘We’ve got another promise,’ he said. ‘I don’t think Australia should waste time for the promise. I’m worried about the people in Sydney right now,’ he told ABC’s Insiders program.
For now half the population remains in lockdown with restrictions in NSW, Victoria and South Australia – the latter two due to end on Tuesday.
But Sydney remains in crisis with 141 new cases reported on Sunday and two deaths – one woman in her 30s and another in her 70s.
Mr Morrison said a record for a Saturday of more than 100,000 doses were delivered, bringing the total to 11.14 million jabs across the nation.
He said 38 per cent of the population has had at least one dose, over 16 per cent have had two.
A health worker (right) administers a Pfizer vaccination to a person at a mass coronavirus vaccination hub at the Showgrounds in Melbourne
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program the virus was not going away and Australia needed to plan for that.
‘There is one ticket out of this crisis and that’s vaccinations,’ he said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller agreed.
‘The way the Delta variant is running through, particularly in Sydney at the moment, is that I can’t see us getting down to zero for some time,’ he told Sky News.
Given the size of NSW daily numbers, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation now says any adult in the Sydney is strongly recommended to receive the vaccine, regardless of which one they are eligible for – Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
‘That’s important because we know that we have got AstraZeneca available but we haven’t seen a huge take-up,’ Mr Frydneberg said.
ATAGI previously recommended those under 60 should only get the Pfizer jab because of the extremely rare risk of blood clotting from having the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people.
Mr Morrison said the vaccines would provide assistance but were not a lockdown game-changer.
‘What is going to end the lockdown is it being effective… and complied with,’ he said.
People sit in line waiting to be called into a cubicle to receive a vaccine at the Melbourne Showgrounds Covid-19 Vaccination Centre on July 20
Mr Morrison also said Saturday’s anti-lockdown protests were ‘self-defeating’. ‘It achieves no purpose,’ he said
He said Saturday’s ugly protest in Sydney was selfish.
‘It was also self-defeating. It achieves no purpose. It won’t end the lockdown sooner. It will only risk the lockdowns running further,’ he said.
Mr Frydenberg was more blunt.
‘Stupidity writ large. Just shocking, really shocking images,’ he said.
‘Those protesters should be condemned for not just breaking the health orders and there for breaking the law, but for putting in danger their fellow Australians.’
Meanwhile, Victoria announced 11 new locally acquired virus cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews said while the lockdown strategy is working, it is still too early to say whether it will end on Tuesday night.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall reported three new cases but confirmed his lockdown would end on Tuesday as planned.