Prime Minister Scott Morrison says 90,000 additional Pfizer vaccine doses will be delivered to New South Wales from next week amid the state’s growing COVID-19 outbreak.
On Sunday, Mr Morrison addressed concerns around the supply of Pfizer jabs, saying he is responding to the request from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to direct more doses to the state.
He said the federal government provided the state with 50,000 extra doses on Friday.
An extra 90,000 each week will be delivered from next week – an allocation which is on top of the 147,720 Pfizer doses delivered in the week beginning 5 July.
“That does not include the additional 50,000 which I extended to the Premier on Friday, or the additional 150,000 they have already received, over and above their previous allocations,” he said.
“And in the weeks following, it goes up to 110,000 above what it was back in the beginning of July and the week commencing 5 July.
“So that is a significant increase that we’ve seen since the early part of this month, to where we are now.”
Mr Morrison also confirmed that the federal government has secured 85 million extra doses of Pfizer as booster vaccines for all Australians over the next two years.
“The securing of the 85 million doses is another important development – it’s a shot in the arm for Australians in the vaccine program,” he said. “The vaccine program is really starting to hit its marks now and beyond. We can go into next year with greater confidence.
“The supplies will be provided over the course of the year, to meet any of those booster requirements as we’re advised we need to put in place.”
All adults in Greater Sydney urged to consider AstraZeneca
Mr Morrison urged all adults over 18 in Greater Sydney to heed the updated ATAGI advice, urging them to get any vaccine available to them, including AstraZeneca.
“Having those vaccines is incredibly important. I welcome that advice,” he said.
Mr Morrison conceded there is brand damage around the AstraZeneca vaccine, but he urged people to consider the evidence around its efficacy.
NSW records 141 new local COVID-19 cases and two deaths
“Undoubtedly the events of the past few months have caused some hesitation and needlessly. The good news is its medical potency hasn’t changed.
“It’s a powerful vaccine that helped saved lives… It’s important we get the jabs in arms as quickly as we possibly can.”
He said ATAGI will provide more information in mid-August on the vaccine rollout for children aged between 12 and 15, after the TGA provided approval for the age group to receive vaccines.
At least 16 per cent of Australia’s population has been fully vaccinated after the administration of 11.14 million doses since February.
PM condemns ‘selfish act’ of anti-lockdown protesters
Mr Morrison condemned those involved in Saturday’s anti-lockdown protest in Sydney, saying the prospect of coming out of lockdown has been negatively impacted.
“It is selfish. It is self-defeating. It achieves no purpose,” he said.
NSW Police said 200 of about 3,500 people involved in Saturday’s protests have been identified.
“That was a very selfish act and it offended many fellow Sydneysiders,” Mr Morrison said.
“In a city under lockdown, to engage in that was reckless, and it was selfish.”
He said vaccines alone won’t end the lockdown in Greater Sydney, adding that the lockdown measures will need to drive down new infections.
NSW Police release footage from anti-lockdown protest
“The lockdown comes to an end when the cases come to an end. The vaccines can provide some assistance. What is going to end this lockdown is that the lockdown being effective.”
He said vaccine supply to other states needs to continue.
“I don’t share the view this is somehow a competition between states on this. I think the national vaccine program all around the country… it needs to maintain its momentum and that means you don’t go and disrupt it.”
He said “contingency plans” are being developed at a federal level, but effective lockdowns and vaccination rates are the key policy tools.
“What matters is what we do now. When I saw we were able to do one million doses in six days, that tells me we turned this around.
“I know that lockdowns are incredibly debilitating. They’re frustrating. You feel powerless when you’re in one of those lockdowns. I get that. What you can do is you can get vaccinated… and stay home.”
No plans to change eligibility for lockdown support payments
Mr Morrison rejected calls for adjustments in the federal government’s income support payments to reach 400,000 people in NSW who are ineligible for the payments.
The Australian Council of Social Service said almost half of the 400,000 unemployed or part-time workers face homelessness.
Mr Morrison said he believes the arrangements in place are appropriate.
“We’re making payments direct – if you lost those hours; and you’re not receiving other social security benefits; and those social security benefits are scaled to your income.
“So if your other income has fallen back, then the income you get through JobSeeker and things like that scales up. These arrangements have been designed to deal with the problem we have right now, and the problem we have right now is in specific states in specific locations.
“And we need to get it out quickly and switch it on quickly. It’s delivering those supports and payments far quicker than we were able to achieve under JobKeeper. And that’s very important.”
He said the federal government is delivering income support payments to Greater Sydney residents, amounting to some $220 million each week.
At least 52,000 claims for income support payments in Victoria have been granted, since applications opened on Friday.
“Just under $30 million is already out the door to support people across Victoria,” Mr Morrison said.