The Australian government has ordered an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine following the latest advice to prioritise that vaccine for people aged under 50.
The additional doses, doubling the government's existing order with Pfizer, are not due to arrive until the fourth quarter of 2021.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the rapid negotiations were within the existing contract with Pfizer, however Australia had enough doses to cover priority recipients in the phase 1a and 1b of the nation's vaccination program.
"With the extra 20 million doses I think that should provide very significant reassurance and in the meantime the [vaccination] program continues with record numbers in the past 24 hours," Mr Hunt told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
Australia broke the one million-dose barrier on Friday - a week after the date the government had committed to administering four million jabs.
Mr Hunt said more than 81,000 shots were given in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase since the program started in late February.
Pfizer became the preferred vaccine for people under the age of 50 on advice issued Thursday evening by the Australian technical advisory group on immunisation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the supply boost after the government backed health advice to avoid people under 50 receiving the AstraZeneca jab because of extremely rare blood clots.
"If we are in a position to have vaccinated [phases] 1A and 1B then that has implications for being in a position where we can begin starting to treat COVID-19 like the flu," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
The more Australian who are vaccinated the earlier international borders could open, he said, but first the government wanted to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable and knowing they can contain and supress any outbreaks.
Phases 1A and 1B remain the priority, Health department secretary Brandan Murphy said, but following the AstraZeneca advice on Thursday there was no new timetable for people who are not in those phases.
Less than one million doses have so far arrived in the country, with supply issues hampering the speed of the rollout.
Pfizer jabs have become far more crucial following the advice around AstraZeneca, which was going to be administered to most Australians.
The government has agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novavax and COVAX with a cumulative order of 170 million doses.
- With AAP
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