NSW COVID cases grow, Victoria COVID cases grow, Sydney, Melbourne, Orange, SA lockdowns continue, Scott Morrison urges AstraZeneca takeup, Australia’s drug regulator approves Pfizer for kids

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As Premier Gladys Berejikilan was asking for more stock of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for NSW, the coordinator-general of Australia’s COVID-19 taskforce, Lieutenant General John Frewen, said all vaccine supplies were allocated on a per capita basis to the states and there was no surplus stockpile of Pfizer anywhere.

“All available Pfizer will be distributed and provided to the states and territories upfront, as was agreed at national cabinet,” he told the Senate committee.

COVID-19 Taskforce Commander, Lieutenant General John Frewen.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“At the moment, we don’t have surplus Pfizer because the decision was to allocate all Pfizer out so the jurisdictions are responsible for managing their allocations of Pfizer with their particular priorities.”

Conversely, General Frewen said supply was exceeding demand for AstraZeneca, “although demand on AstraZeneca is rising by the day”. This is in part because it is being made in Australia by CSL whereas all the Pfizer vaccines have to be imported.

Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said the government was working “almost every day” with Pfizer to work out whether more supply could be brought into Australia faster than originally planned.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and General Frewen also pointed out that the outbreak could escape southwestern Sydney and so the vaccine rollout had to continue at pace in other areas to add to the rings of containment.

General Frewen says there were “minor amounts of Pfizer” surplus from time to time that can be sent elsewhere.

He says at the moment, he only has a formal request from SA for extra Pfizer, and only an informal one from NSW. He doesn’t consider a plea from the Premier during a press conference a formal request.

“We are working hard to get as much AstraZeneca into NSW right now,” he said.



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