The federal government has secured an additional one million doses of the Moderna vaccine from European Union member states.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, describing it as a “family-sized dose of hope”, said the additional doses will arrive next weekend, doubling the nation’s Moderna vaccines.
In addition, he said the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is now recommending Moderna for everyone 12 years and older.
“That means that everyone from 12 to 59 can go along to their community pharmacy where Moderna is being administered and they will be able to get a family jab,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
He said 1800 pharmacies will begin to receive the doses through the week of September 20.
Meanwhile, another $50 million will be spent trying to convince the 20 per cent of Australians who are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccination to change their minds.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said research showed a growing number of people were willing to be jabbed, as the nation looks to a 70-80 per cent fully vaccinated rate before easing lockdown and travel restrictions.
“This campaign targets those who are still unsure to be vaccinated, as it will enable them to do things they enjoy, such as being with family, attending weddings, going to concerts and travelling,” Mr Hunt said.
More than 66 per cent of eligible Australians aged over 16 have received at least one COVID vaccination and 41 per cent are fully vaccinated, with some 22 million doses administered across the country.
Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said the government is already making preparations for when the 80 per cent target is met and international borders start to reopen.
He said a QR code that provides evidence of a person’s vaccination status has been developed and is being sent out to Australia’s overseas posts for trial.
These include the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US.
“When the international borders open we want people to be able to travel again,” Mr Tehan told Sky New’s Sunday Agenda program.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall told the program his state is on board with the national plan and expects state lockdowns and lockouts will be a thing of the past before Christmas when the 80 per cent vaccination rate is met.
NSW is already planning for its domestic reopening at a 70 per cent vaccination rate, even though its daily infection rates remain stubbornly high, recording a further 1262 cases on Sunday and another seven deaths.
Federal Labor frontbencher and NSW MP Tanya Plibersek is looking forward to reopening, but has some concerns.
“I would be much more confident about the 70 per cent target if it was clear the premier was getting health advice that backed it,” she told ABC’s Insiders program.
She is particularly worried about the state’s tracking and tracing, and the capacity of the hospitals to cope.
“We are not going to get answers to those questions because the premier has suspended parliament and cancelled the daily press briefings,” she said.
Victoria recorded another 392 new infections, while the ACT saw a further 15.
Queensland authorities are breathing a sigh of relief after recording no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, having warned that it might have to take swift action after detecting five cases the day before.