The first doses of overseas-made AstraZeneca vaccine have arrived in Australia.

The shipment - containing 300,000 doses of the jab - arrived at 9.20am on Sunday.

Batch testing of the vaccines will be undertaken by the TGA to ensure the doses meet Australian standards before they join the rollout in just over a week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vaccine arrival was part of the rollout "ramp up".

"This is the next step as we ramp up the vaccine rollout," he said.

"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."

 

The rollout of the AstraZeneca jab is due to begin on March 8.

Australia has a purchase agreement for 53.8 doses of the Oxford-developed coronavirus vaccine.

About 3.8m doses are due to arrive in the first half of this year, with a further 50m made in monthly batches in Melbourne by CSL.


Health Minister Greg Hunt said the introduction of the jab into the rollout would make it easier than just relying on the Pfizer vaccine which has complex storage needs.

"Having AstraZeneca available in Australia provides an easier avenue for distribution across the nation, meaning people in rural, regional and remote areas will not have to travel as far to receive their vaccine," Mr Hunt said.

"The cold chain requirements of this vaccine - it can be stored and handled in the same way as any other vaccine - make it a very good candidate for a country like Australia."

CASH BOOST FOR AVIATION SECTOR

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has flagged targeted financial support for the aviation sector when the wage subsidy JobKeeper scheme ends next month.

It comes after Qantas reported a half-yearly net loss of $1.03bn amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

"The domestic tourism market is going to pick up, particularly as the vaccine is rolled out confidence comes back, and we don't see those borders closing as frequently as we saw, over the course of last year," the Treasurer told Sky News.

"With respect to the government support. We are looking at other measures that we can put in place - post JobKeeper - to support a range of industries including the aviation sector."

ALERT OVER MELBOURNE WASTEWATER FRAGMENTS

Victoria recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

The Department of Health announced there were zero fresh cases after 7440 tests were conducted across the state.

There were no locally or overseas acquired infections for the second day in a row, while there is still 15 active cases in Victoria.

The last recorded cases of community transmission were announced on Friday, when two people were identified as being positive.

They were already in isolation and are close contacts to a case linked to the Holiday Inn cluster.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Daniel Pockett
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Daniel Pockett

Victorians are relishing their first weekend since restrictions were relaxed back to the conditions in place before the Black Rock outbreak in December.

From 11.59pm on Friday they can now host up to 30 people in their home per day and 100 people can gather outdoors.

Masks are only required on public transport, in ride share vehicles such as Uber and taxis, in settings such as aged care facilities and in some larger retail settings including indoor shopping centres and supermarkets.

Density limits remain for hospitality, beauty, gyms and health venues, while attendances for funerals and weddings are still capped depending on the size of the hosting setting.

Offices are now able to welcome back up to 75 per cent of staff.

COVID-19 fragments have been detected in wastewater in Melbourne's outer west, with residents urged to get tested.


Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the viral fragments were "weak" but residents and recent visitors to the area with "even mild symptoms" should arrange a coronavirus test immediately.

The suburbs in the wastewater catchment area are Taylors Hill, Plumpton, Hillside, Sydenham, Delahey, Caroline Springs, Burnside Heights, Kings Park, Albanvale, Burnside and Deer Park.

Professor Sutton said the viral fragment was from a sample collected on February 22.

"Anyone who has been in these suburbs and has any symptoms of COVID-19 from 20 to 22 February is urged to get tested," he said.

"Fragments of the virus detected in wastewater may be due to a person with COVID-19 being in the early active infectious phase.

"Or it could be because someone is continuing to shed the virus after the early infectious period."


Originally published as AstraZeneca doses arrive in Australia


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