Australia will soon begin sharing vaccine stockpiles with Pacific countries, despite its own vaccination plans going astray while the hotel’s quarantine system reports an influx of COVID patients.
At least 10,000 Australian-made doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are distributed weekly to help country neighbors inoculate the highest-risk populations when international supply is restricted.
Supply will be expanded as needed, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Minister of International Development and Pacific Zed Seselja said in a joint statement.
“Health safety and economic recovery in our area are intertwined with ourselves,” the statement said.
“The dose will initially be available to friends in Papua New Guinea and East Timor who are facing a significant COVID-19 outbreak.”
Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will also start taking it in the coming weeks.
The announcement was made when Australian health authorities were competing to restructure the vaccine deployment schedule, and new health advice put the government into a bottle of the original plan.
Meanwhile, a large number of Australians infected with COVID continue to return to the country.
A total of six new virus cases were reported on Saturday at the Hotel Quarantine, four in New South Wales and one each in Queensland and Victoria.
The country is currently looking forward to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine has been deprecated for people under the age of 50 due to its very rare but serious thrombotic side effects.
That age group has been told to choose the Pfizer vaccine, and the government hopes that another 20 million doses of vaccine will arrive in the country by the end of the year.
This brings the total supply of Pfizer jabs in Australia to 40 million.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison initially set October as the deployment deadline, but since most people were set to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, when all Australians could get their first jab? Does not say now.
Health advice has confused the deployment of national vaccines.
Western Australia has canceled reservations for people under the age of 50 who were hoping to get the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.
Deployment was suspended in the northernmost part of Queensland as authorities are working on the effects of rare blood clot advice.
Vaccination in the Torres Strait was a priority for Queensland given the number of vulnerable communities and its proximity to outbreaks in Papua New Guinea.
The plan also failed in the Northern Territory because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at a much lower temperature than AstraZeneca.
This makes it difficult to transport to remote locations other than Darwin and Alice Springs, where there is no specialized medical refrigerator.
NSW is still working on a plan to create a mass vaccination hub to inoculate tens of thousands of people each week, but it depends on supply.
Workers are once again urging the federal government to lock in trade in other vaccines, especially model najab.
Currently, more than one million Australians are vaccinated and the government has also promised more frequent data on the progress of the deployment.
Tiffany Turnbull and Rebecca Gledley