Latest Pfizer doses mean supply woes now behind us, says rollout chief

The man in charge of Australia’s vaccine rollout is confident supply woes have been conquered after more Pfizer doses landed.

Sep 06, 2021, updated Sep 06, 2021
COVID-19 Taskforce Commander, Lieutenant General John Frewen (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

COVID-19 Taskforce Commander, Lieutenant General John Frewen (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Lieutenant General John Frewen has turned his focus to stamping out lingering pockets of wariness in the community.

“I’ve got one eye firmly fixed on hesitancy issues,” he told the Nine Network on Monday.

“We’ve got the supply. We’ve got the distribution networks now.”

There are about 9400 places to get vaccinated across Australia with hopes the figure will rise to more than 10,000 in coming weeks.

“Really it all just does come down now to people turning up,” Frewen said.

Almost 500,000 Pfizer doses secured under a vaccine swap deal with the UK touched down in Sydney on Sunday night.

Another 3.5 million from the agreement are due to arrive this month, while one million doses of Moderna are also expected to land in about a week.

Supply issues have been one of the major handbrakes on Australia’s sluggish vaccine rollout which remains well behind other developed nations.

But momentum has built amid outbreaks in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Australia has fully vaccinated 37.8 per cent of its population aged 16 and above while 62.1 per cent have received a first dose.

Victoria recorded another 246 cases on Monday.

On Monday, there were 1281 new cases in NSW where the federal government is setting up 10 mental health clinics across Sydney and the Central Coast.

The clinics will include teams of psychologists, mental health nurses, mental health occupational therapists, social workers and peer workers.

They will offer video and phone mental health services, as well as COVID-safe face-to-face support where recommended by a clinician.

Vaccine coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent remain the subject of fierce debate between federal, state and territory governments.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan wants to see rates between 80 and 90 per cent before setting a date to reopen his state’s borders.

He expects that to happen some time next year.

“We will get back to international travel and we will get back to travelling to the eastern states if we can get through this entire period, hopefully unscathed,” he told Nine.

In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is reluctant to automatically reopen her state’s borders once the vaccination rate reaches 80 per cent.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein wants to achieve 90 per cent coverage, but has said he’ll follow the national reopening plan.

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