Success of vaccine rollout hinges on Australian public uptake: Taskforce chief

The head of Australia’s Covid-19 Taskforce Lieutenant-General John Frewen has said the success of the vaccine rollout is now reliant on public uptake rather than supply as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.

The early stages of the vaccination program in Australia was plagued by under-supply problems.

Frewen said that an imminent influx of mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would ramp up the rollout in September, reported Xinhua news agency.

“This takes us beyond the phase in the vaccine rollout where we were really mRNA supply constrained,” he was cited by Australian Community Media as saying on Wednesday.

“The vaccines are coming, the distribution networks are in place and expanding. It all comes down now to public willingness to come forward,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, Australia reported 1,721 new locally-acquired Covid-19 infections, 1,480 of which were from New South Wales (NSW), the country’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, where the state health department also recorded nine deaths.

“There have been 148 Covid-19 related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021,” said the statement from the NSW health authorities.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 221 new local cases.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded another 20 new cases on the 27th day of its lockdown, which is due to end on Sept. 17.

Andrew Barr, the chief minister of the ACT, stressed that restrictions would only be eased when it is safe to do so.

“Our primary goal remains the health and protecting the health of our community,” he told reporters.

“We are very acutely aware of the need to also consider the economic impacts and the mental health and wellbeing impacts that come from ongoing public health restrictions,” he added.

So far about 64 percent of Australians aged 16 and over had received at least one coronavirus vaccine and 39 percent were fully inoculated, according to the Department of Health.