Half a million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will start being administered across hotspots in Sydney this week following a deal between Australia and Poland.
The federal government on Sunday announced one million doses of the vaccine had been purchased from Poland, with 530,010 of those on the way to the 12 Greater Sydney local government areas (LGAs) being hit hardest by the virus.
These include Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield and Penrith.
The announcement came as New South Wales recorded 415 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with more than 6,500 active cases.
The remaining 470,340 Pfizer doses will be shipped to Victoria (175,500), Queensland (136,890), South Australia (47,970), Western Australia (70,200), Tasmania (17,550), the Northern Territory (8,190), and the ACT (14,040).
All the additional doses will be targeted to Australians aged 20 to 39 years of age, who, according to the Doherty Institute modelling, have been the main spreaders of COVID-19.
The vaccines have been produced at Pfizer’s Belgium facility, and have been purchased on a not-for-profit basis from the Republic of Poland, the government said. They have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Foreign Affairs minister Marise Payne said Australia’s diplomats were working hard to find opportunities to secure more vaccines.
“This is a demonstration of the value of Australia’s close engagement with other governments and a strong example of countries cooperating and supporting one another as we face the pandemic together,” she said.
“This deal also illustrates that our diplomatic capability is delivering in ways that protect and support Australians at home and abroad throughout this pandemic.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and his government ‘for their generous support of Australia’s COVID-19 response during this challenging time’.
The additional Pfizer doses began arriving in Australia on Sunday night. The government said the weekly arrivals of Pfizer have been boosted from 600,000 to one million per week.
Authorised workers given vaccine priority in NSW
Meanwhile, NSW Health has announced that tens of thousands of eligible authorised workers in the Sydney LGAs of concern have been offered priority COVID-19 vaccinations from Monday.
Eligible workers include those working in health care, aged care and disability care; construction; freight and transport; meat processing; food production/processing/retail; and primary, secondary and early childhood school staff.
These workers will be able to get the jab at selected NSW Health vaccination clinics between August 16 and 22.
As at August 14, a total of 5,009,457 vaccines had been administered across the state.
NSW Health expects that around 100,000 eligible workers will receive a vaccination over the course of the week.