Australia, largely free of covid-19, in no hurry to reopen borders

Joanna Estrada
April 18, 2021

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison have marked the beginning of the trans-Tasman travel bubble - a world-leading agreement amid the pandemic.

Some doctors say the greatest threat facing the rollout is not the practical issues it faces, but the fading public confidence they are causing.

Meanwhile, the national cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss the vaccine rollout, as well as how to open up the economy in the future and perhaps moving to home quarantine.

The government has also had to overhaul its rollout plans after receiving updated medical advice recommending people under the age of 50 get the Pfizer vaccine over AstraZeneca due to concerns about blood clots.

New Zealand is now rolling out its Pfizer vaccine programme. "We're talking widely, and there is very high interest in mRNA capability in Australia".

Victoria announced on Sunday it will open three mass-vaccination hubs for Australians eligible for the shot, after similar announcements from the New South Wales and South Australian governments.

Some 885,000 AstraZeneca doses have been administered in Australia so far.

But he said that even a partial border opening was still some time away, and would not be considered until the vulnerable have been vaccinated.

From Wednesday, Victorians aged over 70 will be able to get jabbed at a vaccine centre without an appointment as the state prepares to scale up its rollout. "We don't have the capacity to produce at scale at the moment", she told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.

"But it's critical that our state governments and our federal government work together to demonstrate to Australians that they're on top of this, and that they will roll out these vaccines in a safe and effective way by the end of the year".

"We are in a good place but we can not afford to go backwards", he said in a statement.

She was admitted to hospital four days later and died last week.

It is the third in Australia involving blood clots with low platelet count post-vaccination, with the first two cases still in hospital.

Australia is interested in producing a cutting-edge form of COVID-19 vaccine onshore, but the Health Minister warns it could take the "best part of a year" for manufacturing to begin.

Ms Andrews, now home affairs minister but until recently was the minister for science and technology, says it is "absolutely" possible Australia could manufacture an mRNA vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people under 50, a treatment which the government has secured a further 20 million doses, but they won't arrive until late in the year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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