The Gold Coast Bulletin

Double dose confusion

No chance of full vaccine rollout in 2021: ‘Never been part of our plans’

- JADE GAILBERGER

AUSTRALIAN­S were never expected to have two COVID-19 doses before the end of 2021, Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck says.

The developmen­t comes as Moderna announced it will supply 25 million vaccine doses to Australia under a new supply deal.

Confusion continues over the vaccine timeline after Josh Frydenberg handed down the federal budget, which was based on the assumption that a “population-wide vaccinatio­n program” would likely be in place by the end of the year.

“The assumption is that every Australian who wants to get two shots of the vaccine (will be able to) by the end of the year,” the Treasurer said.

But Senator Colbeck said the government aspired to get everyone who wants a vaccine their first dose.

“For it to be two doses, you will have to bring that forward significan­tly and that’s never been part of our plans … because there was 12 weeks between doses,” Senator Colbeck said on ABC radio. “So I don’t see where that suggestion comes from.”

Under a new supply agreement announced by Moderna, Australia has secured 25 million doses of the mRNA vaccine. This includes 10 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine against the ancestral strain to be delivered in 2021, and 15 million doses of the company’s updated variant booster vaccine candidate to be delivered in 2022.

Moderna is yet to apply for approval from Australia’s drug regulator but said it expected to submit an applicatio­n shortly.

Scott Morrison said first doses would support the vaccine rollout later this year among people aged under 50.

The Prime Minister said the government was trying to bring forward the rollout of additional Pfizer doses into the third quarter, while five million people could get Moderna, which is due to arrive in the fourth quarter.

“There is then another 15 million of what is called booster doses,” Mr Morrison told 6PR.

“That is a different vaccine again, that is next year, and that is to deal with possible variants.”

Senator Colbeck said about 80 per cent of the aged care sector, excluding the workforce, had now been vaccinated against COVID-19.

 ??  ?? Richard Colbeck.
Richard Colbeck.

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