Australia has fast-tracked an additional three million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine following a written approach to the global pharmaceuticals giant by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt in May.
Details of the agreement were until now kept secret for commercial in confidence reasons, but Hunt revealed the news in an exclusive interview for 7NEWS Spotlight: Delta Crisis Exposed, airing at 8.30pm tonight.
Its a very significant outcome, Hunt said.
In May, the Prime Minister and I wroteto the CEO of Pfizer, wed pushed for additional doses to be brought forward, that was successful.
(Pfizer) responded with an additional three million doses for Australia to be brought forward, into the third quarter, and those doses are the ones which commence in the course of the week of 19 July, Hunt added.
And so, that means that we move to a million a week.
Even though it was to our detriment, we didnt disclose that because of the commercial in confidence nature that it was critical for Australia to maintain those relations.
Health Minister Greg Hunt. Credit: Getty
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was given credit for fast-tracking the Pfizer rollout in Australia after conversations with the companys chairman Albert Bourla, a claim denied by the Federal Government.
Rudd wrote a letter to Scott Morrison claiming Dr Bourla would personally look at what further might be able to be done.
With roughly half the Australian population confined to their homes under strict lockdown conditions, and only 10 per cent fully vaccinated, the Federal Government has been criticised for not securing enough Pfizer vaccines sooner.
Its utterly inexcusable, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Spotlight.
The current COVID-19 outbreak, driven by a deadly and highly infectious Delta strain of the virus, has so far claimed four lives in Sydney and infected roughly 1000 people across NSW and Victoria.
It is believed the Delta strain arrived in the country on June 9 from a FedEx flight crew that was transported from Sydney Airport to a nearby hotel by an unvaccinated limousine driver.
The health and safety of our FedEx team members, customers, and communities in which we operate is our top priority, FedEx said in a statement.
We have robust safety measures in place, and we comply with all required COVID-19 regulations, including crew member testing upon arrival.
The crew tested negative on arrival into Australia and left the following day but was not required to undergo a second swab.
7NEWS Spotlight: Delta Crisis Exposed air tonight at 8.30pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.