Vaccinations over 500,000 in Australia

·3-min read

Australia has hit the half a million milestone for COVID-19 vaccinations but is way short of the four million jabs the government predicted just a few months ago.

Even so, the coalition is optimistic of the rollout from here with the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by CSL in Melbourne well underway.

The first of 50 million Australian-made AstraZeneca doses have been distributed and more will be, on an ongoing basis, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

He said the decision to produce the vaccine at CSL has ensured Australia is one of the few countries with "strong, clear" domestic supplies going forward.

More than 507,000 Australians had been vaccinated as of Friday - 329,000 vaccines administered in state and territory clinics, 97,000 in general practices and more than 80,000 in aged care homes.

"Our GP's have played a vital role in this expansion and have not only been vaccinating over the week, but many practices are continuing to vaccinate on Saturday and Sunday this weekend," Mr Hunt said in a statement.

Australia's overseas vaccine supply was hit by Europe's decision to block some shipments of AstraZeneca.

Jane Halton, from the national COVID-19 commission, warned last year of 'vaccine nationalism'.

Asked on Sky News' Sunday Agenda program if Europe's actions fall into that at category, she said: "Absolutely."

"Domestic governments have an obligation to protect their populations. What we can't do is to have that done at the expense of the globe and vulnerable people right around the world."

Ms Halton is also co-chair of the COVAX global co-ordination program that helps develop vaccines and ensures they are distributed globally.

So far the program has helped to get 31 million doses to 57 countries and the objective this year is for two billion doses.

There has been debate over which of the two vaccines being used in Australia - Pfizer and AstraZeneca - is more effective.

"One of the things I would say to people about the vaccines in Australia, take the first one you are offered," she said.

"They are both going to do what we want them to do, which is to prevent severe disease and death."

Meanwhile, authorities in Queensland, who are trying to contain a potential virus outbreak a week out from Easter, have discovered that an infected man had not thrown a party of up to 25 guests as first reported.

Instead, it was limited to the man's house mates and one other person, all of which are now in quarantine.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said officials acted on what they understood to be true at the time and told reporters she became aware of the new information on Sunday morning.

"It is extremely unfortunate that what has been discovered over the last 24 hours, that it wasn't 25 people, but as I understand it this is the information that was received from this gentleman himself," she said.

Queensland Health are though tracking down people who may have come into contact with the men at 24 exposure sites, and asking them to isolate and get tested.

The potential for an outbreak has sparked a lockdown of hospitals, aged care facilities, prisons and disability services providers in the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay council area

The state did report one new historical COVID-19 infection, the brother of one of the state's current cases, who is no longer infectious and believed to be a 'missing link' between the most recent cluster and a doctor who tested positive earlier this month.