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First shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine lands in Australia

The first shipment of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has landed in Australia today, ahead of the third week of the country’s overall inoculation rollout.

The shipment landed just before 9.30am at Sydney airport, on an Emirates flight.

A total of 300,000 doses were included, which will now be batch tested by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure they meet Australian standards.

The first shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has landed in Sydney. (Edwina Pickles)

“We will now be able to scale up the vaccination rollout to our priority groups, including our most vulnerable Australians and to our frontline border and health workers,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“Most Australians will receive the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with the rollout of these due to commence from 8 March 2021 – provided they clear the TGA’s rigorous batch testing process.

“Australia is in a unique position because importantly this vaccine gives us the ability to manufacture onshore. Every Australian who wishes to be vaccinated will be able to receive a vaccine this year.”

Australia has secured 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will supplement the 20 million doses from Pfizer.

Australia has secured more than 50 million doses of the vaccine. (Edwina Pickles)

A total of 50 million of those AstraZeneca doses will be manufactured in Australia.

“As the rollout begins, the people in priority groups who need the most protection will receive a vaccine first. This includes aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline healthcare workers, and quarantine and border workers,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

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“Having AstraZeneca available in Australia provides an easier avenue for distribution across the nation, meaning people in rural, regional and remote areas will not have to travel as far to receive their vaccine.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine is administered in two doses, 12 weeks apart.

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