Australia will still roll out Covid vaccine despite 13 deaths

The federal government is hoping for a swift response to its investigation into Norway's concern over the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

A number of elderly and frail Norwegians have had side-effects from the vaccine and 13 have since died.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are investigating these worries with Norwegian authorities.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt says at this stage there is no change to Australia's planned vaccine roll-out, which is due to start next month once approval is given by the TGA.

Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has remained confident the Australian roll-out will go ahead. Source: Getty Images

The Pfizer vaccine forms only part of Australia's response to Covid-19, as there will be a greater use of the AstraZeneca, and home produced, vaccine once it has been approved by the TGA.

A survey by market researcher Roy Morgan of more than 1200 respondents found over three-quarters of Australians say they would be willing to be vaccinated when it becomes publicly available.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison returns from a week-long holiday on Monday ahead of a national cabinet meeting on Friday.

The meeting is expected to discuss regional quarantine sites given the restraints on hotels in the major cities.

"I know that Premier Palaszczuk in Queensland is looking at setting up one up at Gladstone," Acting Prime Minster Michael McCormack told the Seven Network's Weekend Sunrise program on Sunday.

The federal government's announcement that it has secured 20 additional flights to bring home stranded Australians between January 31 and March 31 will be above the inbound caps agreed at the last national cabinet.

Special arrangements are in place for the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania to activate additional sites for quarantine for those on the extra flights.

It comes as preparations for the Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne have been thrown into disarray.

Person being injected with the Pfizer vaccine.
A number of elderly and frail Norwegians have had side-effects from the Pfizer vaccine and 13 have since died. Source: Getty Images

Forty-seven players have been sent into quarantine and are unable to train each day as planned after arriving on planes from Los Angeles and Abu Dabi with a total of four positive Covid-19 cases on board.

NSW recorded six locally acquired cases in an existing cluster in western Sydney in its latest update, five of which were household contacts of an infected man reported the day before.

However, NSW health authorities are concerned there were only 12,700 tests on Saturday and urged people to come forward.

Queensland reported no new locally acquired coronavirus cases, boosting hopes a cluster linked to a quarantine hotel has been contained.

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