Australia will make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory and free for its 25 million inhabitants, except for medical exceptions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Wednesday.
“We will seek its broader application as we have done with important vaccines,” said Morrison, who assured that his Government will cooperate so that the countries of the region have access to the vaccine against covid-19.
The free and compulsory application constitutes “an important component of our vaccination strategy,” the conservative leader told 3AW radio in Melbourne.
The Australian Government signed an agreement of intent with the British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca for Australia to immediately obtain the vaccine formula, if it works and passes all controls, as well as the right to manufacture it.
However, added the acting chief medical officer of the government, Paul Kelly, the coronavirus vaccine program will have a voluntary first stage.
“There will be people who, for medical reasons as the prime minister said, will not be able to get vaccinated, but we will do very strong campaigns to encourage people,” said Kelly, who also stressed that the authorities will make sure that the vaccine, which is expected to be ready for early 2021, “work and be safe.”
Australia, which had reactivated its economy after neutralizing the coronavirus, faces a health crisis caused by an outbreak in Melbourne, the country’s second city and the capital of the state of Victoria, which at the end of June saw its infections skyrocket from 2,200 to about 17,500 .
The Victorian government, which confined Melbourne’s 5 million inhabitants until September 13 and imposed restriction measures on the rest of its territory, reported 216 new infections and 12 deaths today, indicating that it appears to have exceeded the peak. of contagions.
For its part, the border state of New South Wales reported seven new infections, amid concerns about a new case of a security guard at a quarantine center for international travelers who also worked in a Sydney market.
The oceanic country, which was among the countries that best balanced the health response with the economic one to the covid-19 crisis, accumulates some 24,000 cases and 450 deaths.