The severity of the Covid Delta outbreak in Sydney was a key factor in negotiations to purchase an extra million doses of Pfizer vaccine that will begin arriving in Australia on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.
The additional doses, on top of the 40 million already purchased - most of which are due to arrive in the final months of 2021 - are arriving on an expedited schedule over the course of next week.
The first 530,000 doses will head straight for the 12 local government areas most affected in New South Wales, earmarked for 20-39 year olds identified in the Doherty Institute modelling as peak transmitters of the virus.
Other states and territories will receive the remaining 470,000 doses on a per capita basis.
The first shipment left Warsaw on Saturday following negotiations with the Polish government that began several weeks ago, Mr Morrison said.
"A key factor in being able to secure these doses from our Polish friends has been that we have had a significant outbreak in our largest city," Mr Morrison told reporters on Sunday morning.
These doses come from the Pfizer plant in Belgium where the existing order of Pfizer doses are also coming from, and are already approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The Prime Minister thanked his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and Pfizer head Albert Bourla who authorised the transfer.
In a statement, the Polish embassy in Canberra said its government was not profiting from the sale of doses and hoped the provision will support Australia's efforts to ramp up its vaccine rollout at a critical moment.
"Poland has recently offered to share vaccines mainly with low and middle-income countries, including its Eastern neighbours, Balkan countries etc.
"The decision to also add Australia to the list was taken against the backdrop of the current outbreak of Delta variant in the country, following the talks between both countries' officials, including the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers."
It went on to commend Australian authorities for the first joint operation of this kind.
The arrangement between Australia and Poland was commercial, and the details would not be disclosed, Mr Morrison said.
"I particularly want to thank the great work done by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, our embassy there in Poland, in being able to identify this opportunity and enabling us to move very swiftly."
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He pleaded with the people of NSW to stay home until the outbreak was under control.
"I need you to stay at home, and you needed more vaccines from us.
"More vaccines are on their way, they will be there this week, and so I need Sydneysiders to stay home so we can beat this thing."
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