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More doses for Australia? Pfizer medical director explains how COVID jabs are allocated

Ross and Russel
Article image for More doses for Australia? Pfizer medical director explains how COVID jabs are allocated

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jab has been approved for use in Australia, but the country has only secured 10 million doses, enough to vaccinate five million people.

Pfizer’s Australian medical director, Dr Krishan Thiru, says the pharmaceutical giant is scaling up production and is in discussions with about 100 governments about providing additional vaccines.

“We recently announced that we’re retooling and adding some production lines and we’re actually now aiming to produce 2 billion doses globally over the course of the year,” he told Ross and Russel.

“We’re starting to have conversations now with … around 100 governments around the world, to find out what their needs are.”

But Australia, which has very low levels of COVID-19, may have to wait longer than other countries to receive additional vaccines.

“There are a number of considerations when we’re looking at where vaccine doses are allocated,” Dr Thiru said.

“It’s looking at broad access, equity across the globe, and also the medical need, as well as the size of the population, the size of the at risk population.

“But clearly COVID-19 is a global challenge. There’s no point in addressing it in only one part of the world. With international travel, obviously, the virus travels very quickly across borders.”

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