UK to send four million Pfizer doses to Australia

Move aims to boost Australia’s slow jab roll out

Matt Mathers
Friday 03 September 2021 11:08

Related: Vaccine reduce risk of long Covid

Britain is sending four million doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine to Australia in a bid to boost its faltering inoculation programme.

Australia has one of the slowest jab rollouts among wealthy countries, with just 36.4 per cent of people over the age of 16 having had both jabs, according to official figures.

Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister, announced the move at a press conference in Canberra, saying the shots will arrive over the coming weeks.

It comes just days after Australia secured around 500,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine from Singapore.

“The plane is on the tarmac now. It will be leaving tomorrow,” Mr Morrison said.

“Those doses will be coming over the course of the next few weeks, which will see us double the Pfizer doses that we have during September."

The deal comes hours after Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, said his country needs to “go faster” with the vaccination of 16 to 17-year olds, despite a “strong” uptake within the age group.

Mr Morrison has been criticised for his handling of the pandemic after more lockdowns were announced in July.

The country’s two most populous states, Victoria and New South Wales, are in lockdown and counting on getting their residents vaccinated to contain the outbreak of the Delta variant which began in Sydney in mid-June.

Australia was initially lauded around the world for its tough stance on preventing Covid transmission as it closed borders and banned travel.

Australia on Friday recorded its biggest one-day rise in Covid infections, with 1,657 new cases and 13 deaths reported in the previous 24 hours.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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