Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout hasn't exactly gone to plan, with recent estimates suggesting it could take until 2023 for the entire population to get their jab. Here are the numbers.
When playful footage of a jersey-clad Scott Morrison and 84-year-old World War II survivor Jane Malysiak rolling up their sleeves was broadcast across the country, Australians had every reason to be hopeful the coronavirus pandemic might be coming to an end.
The prime minister declared it was a “historic day” for Australia as he “put his shoulder to the jab” to receive his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 21 February 2021.
Australia had waited longer than other countries to start the rollout, told not to panic, assured the government had a comprehensive plan to vaccinate all eligible adults in Australia against COVID-19 by the end of October the same year. Four million of us would be vaccinated by March, they said.
Flash forward two months, and the government’s grand vaccine rollout hadn’t exactly gone to plan.
First, the government struggled to get its hands on vaccines, accusing the European Union of blocking the shipment of millions of AstraZeneca doses. Then, serious concerns were raised over the same vaccine when a 48-year-old woman died of a blood clot likely related to the jab.
Now in late April, fewer than 1.8 million doses have been administered among Australia’s 25 million residents.
The government has revised its earlier timeline. In fact, it has been scrapped completely.
Earlier this month, Mr Morrison said given “the many uncertainties involved”, the government would no longer set an end-of-year vaccination target.
So where are we at now? The graph below shows the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses delivered in Australia and will be updated regularly.
It’s important to note that because the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines - the two vaccines approved for use in Australia - require two doses per person to become effective, the government will need to hit far more than 25 million doses for population-wide immunisation.
At the current rate, it will take until 2023 for all Australians to be vaccinated.
Those currently eligible for the vaccine include people over 70, staff and residents in aged care homes, disability residential accommodation residents and staff, frontline health workers, emergency service workers, border workers, quarantine facility staff, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55, and people with underlying health conditions.
Due to blood clotting risks, the Pfizer vaccine will be prioritised for people under 50.
On Thursday the government also announced plans to speed up the rollout by bringing forward AstraZeneca vaccines for people aged over 50 and booting up more state-run vaccination hubs.
“We're very confident that the Pfizer doses will continue to increase month by month in future months," Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy told journalists after a national cabinet meeting.
“We hope that Australians heed the call to come out and get vaccinated.”