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Supply of vaccinations seen to ramp up

Vaccine Vial
Photo: Supply of vaccinations seen to ramp up
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is confident that as the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine from CSL ramps up, so will the number of inoculations against COVID-19.

On Monday last week over 55,000 people were vaccinated but by Thursday this had increased to a daily rate of over 79,000, bringing the national total to 841,855 overall.

"As we see, supply determines the rollout and as the CSL supply has come on board, we have been able to rapidly accelerate the rollout," Mr Hunt told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

"Given the great and enormous global competition, the fact we have this domestic supply is fundamental."

The number of GPs and special clinics providing the jabs will increase from 1500 to over 3000 by the end of this week and to over 4000 by the end of April around the country.
But Labor's health spokesman Mark Butler has again been quick to point out that the government had promised to dole out four million doses of the vaccine by the end of March but has yet to reach a million.

"Per head of population, Australia is not even in the top 100 countries in terms of vaccine delivery," he told reporters in Adelaide.

Senior federal minister Peter Dutton said the rollout was being done in an orderly fashion as Australia was not in the same state of "mad panic" as the US and UK.

"There will be hiccups from time to time in terms of the rollout of the vaccine but we'll work with the states, we'll work with GPs ... as we deal with the virus over this calendar year," Mr Dutton told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.

Both sides of politics back the decision to press ahead with the AstraZenaca vaccine which most Australians will receive after a range of local health experts gave their nod of approval after a Melbourne man was admitted to hospital with a rare blood clotting disorder.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is investigating this case and working with international experts and regulators.

In the meantime, Mr Hunt said anyone susceptible to blood clotting should seek advice from their GP before going ahead with the jab.

Mr Butler said Labor strongly supports the TGA and other health experts and Australians should continue to follow that advice.

Mr Hunt welcomed news there were no new locally-acquired virus infections on Sunday, when there was the risk of a major break in both Queensland and NSW.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said last week's three-day lockdown was all part of the plan to get enough people tested, identify the close contacts and get them into quarantine to keep everyone safe.

"This meant that we can open up our economy, we can enjoy Easter and it is wonderful to see that our tourism operators are recording record numbers, she told reporters.

But Mr Dutton, a federal Queensland MP, hopes such lockdowns and border closures are a thing of the past.

"It is incredibly disruptive and it makes it very difficult for people to be able to plan," he said.

There was one new case among returned travellers already in quarantine in each of NSW, Queensland and South Australia.

But SA also reported a man in his 40s remains in the Royal Adelaide hospital ICU in a critical condition.


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