Australia has administered one million coronavirus vaccine doses within four days, the prime minister said on Friday.
Over the past week, a total of 1.34 million doses were delivered across the country, where one in four people are now fully vaccinated.
The country’s vaccine roll out was sluggish to begin with, but it has quickly ramped up across most regions, and is currently just shy of having administered 15 million doses.
In a press conference, Scott Morrison announced the latest figures and thanked GPs, pharmacists, and those working in primary care networks who have enabled the vaccination programme to grow at pace.
Pointing to a bar graph of the latest vaccination figures, he said: “In the last seven days – 1.34 million doses delivered in the past week”.
“Thank you GPs, thank you pharmacists, thank you Australians for going in and supporting that effort … we’ve got pharmacists now running 24-hour operations making those vaccinations available to shift workers, particularly those in the construction industry.”
His announcement comes as lockdowns remain in force across Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne – which authorities have said will be needed in the event of Covid outbreaks until at least 70 per cent of adults are vaccinated.
Sydney reported a record 390 new locally acquired cases on Friday, eclipsing the previous daily high of 356 set on Tuesday.
Unarmed army personnel are currently assisting police in Sydney to monitor compliance with lockdown restrictions.
The lockdowns are set to expire on 27 August, but authorities remain skeptical that infection rates will have fallen enough, and that vaccination rates will be high enough to effectively combat the virus.
Around 46.7 per cent of Australians have received one dose of a vaccine, but health authorities estimate that vaccination rates of 70 per cent will not be reached until mid-October. Reaching this target will be particularly challenging as fewer than 15 per cent of the country’s indigenous population has been fully vaccinated to date, much lower than other groups across Australia.