Australia to get 500k doses from Singapore

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Australia has secured half a million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccines in a swap deal with Singapore to bolster the behind-schedule rollout.

Under the agreement 500,000 doses are expected to arrive for distribution next week, with Australia to send the same amount to Singapore in December.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vaccines would be additional to 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer and one million Moderna shots expected to arrive this month.

"That means there are 500,000 doses extra that will happen in September that otherwise would have had to wait for several months from now," he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

The vaccines will be distributed based on population with 159,236 set for NSW and 131,149 heading to Victoria.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese continues to accuse the government of not securing enough doses and failing to establish a more diverse vaccine portfolio.

The opposition argues the slow rollout has left Australia behind almost every developed country in the world.

"Why does the prime minister not take responsibility for the fact that Australia's economic recovery was always hostage to his failures on vaccines and quarantine?" Mr Albanese told parliament

Mr Morrison said there were more "irons in the fire" on vaccine deals.

He said the Singapore doses would accelerate the vaccination rollout as Australia pursues vaccination coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent of the population aged 16 and above.

WA Premier Mark McGowan argues opening borders to states with the virus would cost hundreds of lives at 70 per cent coverage.

The prime minister toned down his criticism of states wary of releasing restrictions at the lower threshold, saying he understood people wanted to be cautious.

"We are all starting from different places under this national plan but we are all heading to the same location," he said.

Mr Morrison said the goal was to reconnect Australians with each other and the rest of the world when more than 80 per cent of over-16s are vaccinated.

But he is adamant states like WA, SA, Tasmania and Queensland will have to prepare for cases of the Delta strain when the nation reopens.

Mr Morrison insists major lockdowns will cause more harm than good at the higher threshold, but said it would not be "open slather" at 70 per cent.

"Ultimately everything is a state matter, but I note that there was an agreement to the national plan which was to see Australians coming together."

Australia has fully vaccinated 35 per cent of its population aged 16 and over while 58.7 have received one dose.

Earlier in the month, the Morrison government clinched a deal with Poland for an additional one million Pfizer doses.

There were 1164 new cases in NSW on Tuesday, while Victoria recorded 76 new infections.

Australia's death toll is 1006 after the latest three deaths in NSW.

The ACT recorded 13 new cases, prompting Chief Minister Andrew Barr to extend lockdown until at least September 17.

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