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Government bullish on virus vaccine supply

All Australians aged 12 or older are on track to be offered a coronavirus vaccine, with supply set to soon outstrip demand.

Vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen said enough doses would be available to vaccinate every Australian over 12 from mid-October.

That’s almost eight months after the start of the vaccine program, which has come under heavy fire for lagging behind the developed world.

“We are in a period now where we are shifting from any sense of supply constraint,” Lieutenant General Frewen told the ABC.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government’s projected supply would overtake demand by late next month.

“We believe that towards the end of October there will be more vaccines than people who want to get vaccinated,” Mr Joyce told ABC radio on Monday.

“If you want to get vaccinated, you will be. If you choose not to, well that is your choice, but the nation can’t wait for you.”

Mr Joyce is confident people’s desire to end restrictions will push the nation past 80 per cent vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and above.

The Morrison government has secured a deal with the European Union for another one million Moderna doses.

It comes after agreements with Poland, Singapore and the United Kingdom for extra Pfizer supplies.

Moderna, which is approved for use for children as young as 12, will be funnelled into pharmacies across the nation.

Bookings for 12- to 15-year-olds will be open from Monday with the system translated into 30 languages.

More than 11 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines will be available in September, with the figure rising to 12 million in October and November.

Lt Gen Frewen is not ruling out using incentives but remains encouraged that public sentiment is overwhelmingly pro-vaccination.

“The best motivators are choice of vaccine, convenience of vaccination and then the freedoms that that will bring,” he said.

“We’ll keep a range of incentive options open but right now we think people are turning up, people will continue to turn up.”

Australia has fully vaccinated 42.3 per cent of people aged 16 and over while 67.4 per cent have received a single dose.

About 1.8 million doses a week are being administered including 328,000 over the weekend.

“What we’re seeing is those rates really rise very rapidly across all states and territories,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told 3AW radio.

The national reopening plan aims to get the fully vaccinated rate to 70 and 80 per cent before restrictions are eased.

NSW is planning to grant a range of freedoms to fully vaccinated people when the state hits 70 per cent double-dose coverage despite stubbornly high infection rates.

There were 1257 cases and seven deaths reported in NSW on Monday.

Victoria’s 473 cases was another outbreak-high tally.

A smaller outbreak in Canberra continues to persist with the ACT remaining in lockdown.

There were two new local cases linked to a Brisbane school but Queensland health authorities remain confident the cluster is under control.

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