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Australian health minister announces earlier start for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

(Xinhua)    14:00, January 06, 2021

CANBERRA, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Wednesday that the country's coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin weeks earlier than previously planned.

Hunt said the country's first COVID-19 vaccines will now be administered in early March rather than at the end of the month.

Under the planned rollout the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, of which Australia has secured 10 million doses, will be administered first in Australia, with priority access given to frontline workers and the elderly.

"We will continue to review the medical advice," he told News Corp Australia.

"In the same way that advice has allowed us to bring forward the time from the first half of the year to late March and now early March we will be guided by the medical advice."

The vaccine from AstraZeneca and University of Oxford, which the government has acquired 53.8 million doses, will be available in Australia by the end of March after Britain began administering it on Monday.

The government is expecting every Australian who wants the vaccine to have received it by October this year.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been 28,519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the numbers of locally and overseas acquired cases in the last 24 hours were seven and 10 respectively, according to the latest figures updated on Tuesday evening from the Department of Health.

The department also said that the number of locally acquired cases in the last seven days was 78.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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