NSW and Queensland will receive an injection of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses as both states battle outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta strain.
The vast majority of NSW’s 183,690 accelerated doses will be sent to the epicentre of Sydney’s outbreak in the south-western suburbs in the next two weeks.
Regions that redirected Pfizer doses to the city will also receive a boost from the increase, which doesn’t reduce other states’ allocations.
Sydney’s dire situation continues to worsen with another 262 local cases reported on Thursday.
Five people older than 60 died, taking the NSW’s toll from the current outbreak to 22 and the national toll from the pandemic to 932. Four of them had not received any vaccine while one had a single AstraZeneca dose in late May.
The NSW Hunter region in the state’s north will be plunged into a one-week lockdown after cases were detected.
Queensland had another 16 local infections, all linked to the existing cluster in an encouraging sign.
The state will receive 112,000 Pfizer doses over the next two weeks, also bringing forward its allocation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said every vaccination could save a life.
“I will always work closely with our premiers to make sure Australians are protected in their time of need. That need is now,” he said on Thursday.
Vaccine rollout commander John Frewen said outbreaks triggered the decision to bring forward doses from supplies that arrived late last month.
Australia has vaccinated 20 per cent of its population 16 and over but continues to lag behind most of the world.
A record 213,947 doses were administered in the past 24 hours.
Victoria detected eight new cases of local transmission, sparking fears the Delta strain has re-emerged in the community.
Federal Labor wants to hand $300 one-off payments to fully vaccinated people but the prime minister has rejected the plan.
Lt Gen Frewen wouldn’t rule out cash or lotteries but stressed incentives were not yet needed with vaccine demand outstripping supply.
He cited international travel, ending quarantine and avoiding lockdowns as strong incentives, along with people knowing vaccination was the right thing to do.
The NSW government has issued a desperate plea for residents to receive any coronavirus jab available and is considering an incentive scheme.
“They involve getting vaccinated to be able to do the things all of us want to be able to do,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in Sydney.