Australia began its massive COVID-19 vaccination program on Monday with front-line healthcare personnel and seniors receiving the first doses, as the country heads for a third straight day without internal contagions.
A group of 20 people including Prime Minister Scott Morrison received the first injections of the vaccine on Sunday, while the widespread deployment began Monday morning and authorities are expected to administer more than 60,000 doses by the end. of the week.
In the first weeks, the vaccine developed jointly by the American Pfizer Inc and the German BioNTech will be used, while the first batch of the British AstraZeneca is expected to arrive in the country in the next two weeks.
The vast majority of Australia’s 25 million people will be injected with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be produced by Australian company CSL Ltd in mid-March. Authorities plan to inoculate four million people by March and hope to finish vaccination by the end of October.
Victoria, the country’s second most populous state, reported no new cases for the third day in a row on Monday, suggesting a new outbreak has been contained in the state capital Melbourne. Other states and territories have effectively eradicated the virus.
With just under 29,000 cases and 909 deaths from the virus, Australia has suffered far fewer infections and deaths than other developed countries, largely due to border closures and rapid monitoring systems.
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