The Federal Government will put another almost $2 billion towards the coronavirus vaccine rollout, to help hospitals, GPs and pharmacies on the frontline deliver the jabs to all corners of the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce the extra funding during an address the National Press Club later today in its first speech of the year.
The $1.9 billion will go to helping with the logistics of delivering the vaccine, with the first jabs expected by the end of the month.
“However, the final commencement date will depend on developments overseas, which we will continue to monitor and update accordingly,” Mr Morrison will say.
The European Union has announced plans to tighten rules on exports of coronavirus vaccines produced in the region, which includes Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
The Government’s vaccination logistics funding is demand-driven though, meaning it could increase depending on how much support providers need.
Hospitals will receive the majority of that funding, with pharmacies and GPs to also receive funding, to cover the costs of administering the vaccines like the extra staff that will be needed to help deliver it across the country, including in regional and remote areas.
The money will help with some of the logistical challenges of the rollout, which has been described as the “largest logistics effort” since World War II.
The Pfizer vaccine, which received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last week will be the first to be delivered, but must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius and delivered differently to most vaccines.
Mr Morrison will say in his speech the aim is to be able to offer a vaccine to all Australians by October.
As well as the Government’s focus on getting everyone inoculated, the Prime Minister is also expected to make it clear in his speech that the focus this year is on the economic recovery after historic spending last year in response to the pandemic.
“Consumer and business confidence has recovered as restrictions have come off and will be further supported by the vaccine rollout,” Mr Morrison will say.
“The task now is to continue our economic recovery by sticking to our Economic Recovery Plan and exercising the fiscal discipline necessary to ensure that we do not overburden future generations and continue to spend taxpayers’ money wisely.
“We are not running a blank cheque budget.”
The Government’s $90 billion wage subsidy scheme, JobKeeper, will finish at the end of March, despite calls for it to be extended for the tourism sector and others still struggling with international border restrictions.
- AstraZeneca to increase vaccine supply to EU: von der Leyen [https://www.siasat.com/astrazeneca-to-increase-vaccine-supply-to-eu-von-der-leyen-2080516/]
- AstraZeneca to supply 9 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses, says EU [https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210131-astrazeneca-to-supply-9-million-more-covid-19-vaccine-doses-says-eu]