First AstraZeneca shipment arrives in Sydney
The first shipment of 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses has landed in Sydney on Sunday, paving the way for the first major expansion of Australia’s roll-out of the jab.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced the arrival in a statement on Sunday, saying it was “the next step as we ramp up the vaccine rollout”.
“The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will undergo the same rigorous TGA process to batch check the vaccine that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine underwent. We will now be able to scale up the vaccination rollout to our priority groups, including our most vulnerable Australians and to our frontline border and health workers.
“Most Australians will receive the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with the rollout of these due to commence from 8 March 2021 – provided they clear the TGA’s rigorous batch testing process.”
It is the second vaccine to arrive in Australia, with the first week of the Pfizer vaccinations already completed for frontline workers and aged care residents.
The first batches are being imported, while later batches will be developed locally.
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Australian state of Victoria reports zero new cases
The Australian state of Victoria has recorded no new Covid cases for the second day in a row.
The state, which was plunged into a five-day lockdown earlier this month, recorded two cases on Friday which authorities said were linked to the Holiday Inn cluster.
On Sunday morning, local time, the health department said 7,440 test results were received the day before and that no new cases were found.
UK records lowest cases in five months
In case you missed this earlier: The British government said a further 290 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 122,705.
Seven days prior, on 20 February, 445 further fatalities from the virus had been recorded.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 143,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The government also said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 7,434 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, the lowest daily rise in cases since 2 October.
A week ago, the daily tally of new cases stood at 10,406.
FDA approves Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for emergency use, making it the third vaccine available to the US public and securing another vital step in the US fight to control Covid-19.
The decision was a formality after an independent expert advisory panel late on Friday afternoon recommended drug regulators approve the one-shot vaccine.
The move is a boost to the Biden administration’s vaccination plans as it seeks to tackle a pandemic that spiraled out of control under Donald Trump amid a largely botched response that was marked by anti-scientific sentiment, skepticism over the wearing of masks, and the promotion of baseless conspiracy theories:
Auckland lockdown begins