Australia begins mass COVID-19 vaccination programme

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia on Monday began its mass COVID-19 vaccine programme with frontline healthcare staff and senior citizens getting the first doses as the country looked set to report no local cases for the third straight day. A group of 20 that included Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday received the first shots of the vaccine while the broader rollout started Monday morning with authorities expected to administer more than 60,000 doses by the end of the week. 'Today is a real milestone in our collective response to tackle COVID-19 and bring things as rapidly under control as we can,' Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told the Australian Broadcasting Corp television

Reuters February 22, 2021 06:10:14 IST
Australia begins mass COVID-19 vaccination programme

Australia begins mass COVID19 vaccination programme

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia on Monday began its mass COVID-19 vaccine programme with frontline healthcare staff and senior citizens getting the first doses as the country looked set to report no local cases for the third straight day.

A group of 20 that included Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday received the first shots of the vaccine while the broader rollout started Monday morning with authorities expected to administer more than 60,000 doses by the end of the week.

"Today is a real milestone in our collective response to tackle COVID-19 and bring things as rapidly under control as we can," Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told the Australian Broadcasting Corp television.

The vaccine, jointly developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech, will be rolled out in the initial weeks while AstraZeneca's first batch is expected to reach the country in the next two weeks.

The exercise, called a "game changer" by Morrison, is being billed as one of the most complex logistical operations in the country's history as the Pfizer vaccines need to be stored below minus-70 Celsius (158 Fahrenheit).

The vast majority of Australia's 25 million population will be injected with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be produced locally by CSL Ltd by the middle of March. Authorities plan to inoculate four million by March and expect to finish vaccinations by the end of October.

Victoria, the country's second-most populous state, on Monday reported no new cases for the third day in a row, suggesting a fresh outbreak in state capital Melbourne has been contained. Other states and territories have effectively eliminated the virus.

With just under 29,000 cases and 909 deaths from the virus, Australia largely escaped the high number of infections and deaths compared with other developed countries, helped by border closures and speedy tracking systems.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Sam Holmes)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.