PM lauds ‘extraordinary moment in history’

 

Scott Morrison has declared that Australia's sluggish COVID-19 vaccine rollout is back on track with the nation's onshore production set to ramp up.

The Prime Minister on Friday toured Melbourne's CSL plant, which the government claims will produce a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine every week.

The government had aimed to have four million Australians vaccinated by early April but walked away from that following supply blockages in Europe.

Mr Morrison said Australia would get to just 500,000 vaccinations by the beginning of next week but claimed the imminent arrival of onshore production would be a "game changer" for the rollout.

RELATED: Aussie-made vaccines to roll out from March 22: PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets CSL staff working on the COVID vaccine while he tours the company's facility in Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets CSL staff working on the COVID vaccine while he tours the company's facility in Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

"This just keeps building every week, every single week. And now the supply is on out of our Australian-made vaccine here," he said.

"This has been the big game changer that we've been working so long and so hard to secure for our country."

Australia's rollout has been marred by the European Union blocking attempts to ship doses of the Pfizer vaccine overseas.

But the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Sunday approved onshore-produced doses for use, beginning with more than 800,000 doses.

Mr Morrison said Australia was leading a "small club" of countries capable of producing its own supply.

He declared onshore production ramping up as an "extraordinary moment in Australia's history".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says onshore vaccine production coming online is an ‘extraordinary moment’ for Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says onshore vaccine production coming online is an ‘extraordinary moment’ for Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

"If we didn't achieve this, there would not be a vaccination program in Australia. That's how serious this task has been. It has been a gargantuan task," he said.

The comments came after the Australian Electoral Commission was urged to investigate flyers signed by billionaire Clive Palmer and distributed across the country.

The flyers falsely claimed Australia's vaccines were subject to "emergency use" and questioned its safety checks.

Mr Morrison blasted the flyers as "misinformation, pure and simple" and said there was no place for politics when it came to the vaccine rollout.

"Don't listen to it, it's rubbish. It's complete rubbish," he said.

"(I) will have no part in anyone who wants to politicise and have a go at this program for political purposes. That's just not on."

The Prime Minister has consistently said Australia's low COVID-19 numbers meant it was not forced to expedite its approval process.

Originally published as PM lauds 'extraordinary moment in history'

Mr Morrison has lashed flyers signed by Clive Palmer questioning Australia’s vaccine rollout. Picture: Richard Gosling
Mr Morrison has lashed flyers signed by Clive Palmer questioning Australia’s vaccine rollout. Picture: Richard Gosling

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