Australia to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine drive as more doses arrive

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SYDNEY – Australia will ramp up their COVID-19 vaccine campaign with more shots to be released from next week, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Tuesday, after a second batch of the vaccine arrived overnight.

Around 166,000 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNtech arrived from Germany late Monday, authorities said, as the country entered the second day of a national inclusion program.

Total weekly doses will be raised to 80,000 next week from 60,000 doses this week, and the number is expected to reach 1 million a week by the end of March when CSL Limited begins rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine to result locally.

Australia on Monday launched the massive COVID-19 vaccine for its 25 million people after it reached the first batch of more than 142,000 doses of the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine last week.

“Consistency of supply has been strong and encouraging … and that just gives Australians confidence in the effectiveness of vaccines and confidence in the reliability of supply,” Hunt told reporters in a statement. Canberra.

Border closures and rapid contact detection have helped Australia keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with easing restrictions putting the economy on a recovery path.

The government has decided to raise the base rate of the unemployment rate by A $ 25 ($ 19.78) per week from April 1, Australian media reported, as they look to end the coronavirus work subsidy due to an improving labor market.

Australia has reported a total of just under 29,000 COVID-19 cases and 909 deaths since the outbreak began. The country’s two most populous states in New South Wales and Victoria did not report new local issues on Tuesday. ($ 1 = 1.2637 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Renju Jose; edited by Richard Pullin)