Australia has secured two additional COVID-19 treatments, but Health Minister Greg Hunt has made it clear they are not replacing vaccinations.
The government has reached an agreement with Roche Products to supply 15,000 doses of the COVID-19 antibody-based therapy Ronapreve.
Mr Hunt said the intravenous treatment given in the early stages of infection provides a 70 per cent reduction in the likelihood of someone being hospitalised or dying.
“These doses are to be in Australia during the course of October and subject to TGA approval,” he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.
The government has also secured 500,000 courses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral antiviral drug, which will be available in 2022, also subject to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval.
No substitute for jabs
“This treatment, which is still undergoing clinical trials, is expected to help to reduce the severity or onset of illness in adults who contract, or have been exposed to, COVID-19,” he said.
“They do not replace vaccinations.”
On that score, 32.5 million vaccine doses have now been given in Australia.
“This is just an incredible number of Australians coming forward to be vaccinated,” Mr Hunt said.
“Over the course of the next week we are likely to see very important milestones reached nationally.”
Australia is likely to pass the 85 per cent first dose mark for people aged 16 and above, and 70 per cent second dose.
“It is a very critical part of the roadmap being reached nationally,” he said.
‘We cannot rely on borders’
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly again urged people to get vaccinated.
“We cannot rely on borders anymore,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“The virus is here in Australia, we need to learn to live with it and we are learning to live with it. It means we need to be protected.”
Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 1838 new local COVID-19 cases and seven deaths.
In NSW there were 301 new infections and a further 10 people died from the virus.