Australian PM concedes population may not all be vaccinated this year
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded that Australians might not all receive coronavirus vaccines in 2021.
Morrison said on Sunday afternoon that while he hoped the population would be vaccinated this year there were too many uncertainties to make guarantees.
The government has abandoned Morrison's previous promise that every Australian would be fully vaccinated by October after the early stages of the vaccine rollout was interrupted by international supply issues and concerns over blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a post on social media on Sunday Morrison said there was no new target to replace the October deadline.
"The government has also not set, nor has any plans to set any new targets for completing first doses," he said.
"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."
As of Sunday there had been 1.16 million vaccines administered in Australia, about half of which have been delivered by the federal government through general practitioners (GPs) and the aged care system, and the other half through state and territory vaccine hubs.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said earlier on Sunday that GPs have "flocked" to participate in the rollout, dismissing reports that doctors fear they could be liable for any side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine.