COVID-19 vaccine rollout falls behind in Australia
Australia has run days behind its vaccine target, but the nation's top nurse says that the goal to vaccinate all adults by October is on track.
As of Wednesday, 61,000 vaccine doses had been given across the country - coming in three days behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison's expectation at least 60,000 doses would be administered by the end of February.
Chief nursing and midwifery officer Alison McMillan said 10,168 vaccinations were completed across the country on Wednesday, bringing the number completed so far to 61,000.
"We will see the number increase over the coming weeks and months as we move into this program rollout," she told reporters on Thursday.
On February 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt issued a joint statement saying it was expected that at least 60,000 of the new Pfizer vaccine would be administered by the end of February.
When asked if the rollout was on track with the government's aim to have all adults vaccinated by October, Prof McMillan replied: "Yes, we are".
"We're steady. As has been said by many before me, these are complex systems to work through," she said.
"We knew this rollout would take a number of steps. As you know, it had different stages in it. As the vaccine becomes available we'll see increased numbers over time, but we're still focused on that October deadline."
General practice clinics and pharmacies take part in the vaccine rollout in coming weeks.
Defence force personnel will also help health authorities with logistics and planning.
"States and territories are working with the defence force about how best to use that fantastic resource," Prof McMillan said.
In the past 24 hours, six new cases COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia, all of which are in quarantine.
So far this year, there's been 582 cases.
"That is, of course, a significant number less than many of our countries across the world," Prof McMillan said.
Since the pandemic started, 29,002 people across the country have contracted the virus.
More than 142,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Sydney airport last month, in a major milestone in Australia's battle against coronavirus.
It was the first shipment of 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine the government has secured as part of Australia's COVID-19 vaccine and treatment strategy.
About 80,000 doses were released in the first week with roughly 50,000 vaccines made available for the states and territories for hotel quarantine, border workers and frontline healthcare workers and 30,000 for the Commonwealth aged care and disability rollout.
More than 14 million COVID-19 tests have been done nationwide since the pandemic started.
Originally published as COVID-19 vaccine rollout behind