Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to put a target on when he expects all eligible Australians to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Releasing a statement on Facebook, Mr Morrison said while he would like to see these doses administered “by the end of the year”, it is simply “not possible”.
The Prime Minister confirmed that to date, 1.16 million doses have been administered to Australians.
“The Government has also not set, nor has any plans to set any new targets for completing first doses,” Mr Morrison wrote on Facebook.
“While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved.
“We will just get on with the job of working together to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible.”
The backdown on timelines comes as the government faces a number of hurdles in rolling out the vaccine.
Recent updated advice stunted the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab – the locally-produced vial designated to be the “workhorse” of the government’s plan – after an extremely rare blood clotting disorder was found to potentially affect some people.
Other tensions have arisen between the Commonwealth and the state and territory governments, each blaming the other for a perceived lack of speed.
Despite this, the prime minister praised the virtues of the rollout thus far, noting how vaccinations are now being administered by local GPs.
“You can see that 1.16 million doses have now been administered, with over 465,000 given by our GPs. Another 1,000 GPs are expected to join the rollout this week, taking the total number to over 4,000,” he wrote.
“At the end of this past week, it’s also important to note that more than 142,000 doses have been administered to our aged care residents, in more than 1,000 facilities, with over 46,000 of these now being second does in over 500 facilities.”
Mr Morrison’s post coincides with the rollout of a new daily dashboard where Australians can track the progress of the rollout, both domestically and internationally.