Bid to lift restrictions on guests in homes at Christmas
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro will push for the number of people allowed at a Christmas gathering to be doubled as a reward for NSW as the federal Health Minister prepares to deliver a vaccine by Easter.
The festive breakthroughs come despite a shortage of dry ice and restrictions on how much can be carried on flights which threatens to delay the rollout of the vaccine, which needs to be kept at -70C. But Mr Hunt said Australia's supply chain had been confirmed.
"I'm delighted to announce that the government has secured, as part of its agreement with Pfizer, full cold chain logistics distribution for the Pfizer vaccine," he said.
"It's what you call an mRNA vaccine, we have 10 million units of that, part of a 134.8 million unit, four-vaccine strategy … We have secured that for Australia, well ahead of expectations and on schedule, to deliver vaccines to Australians, commencing in March 2021," he said.
Healthcare workers and the aged will get the first doses.
It comes as the Deputy Premier, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, said he had worked hard on the subject of reopening NSW and believed there should be a path to reward NSW with a Christmas holiday reprieve.
"For Christmas and New Year, because it's been a tough year, let families come together. I'd like to see at least a temporary lifting of the maximum at home of 20 - maybe from the 24th of December to the 3rd of January - or make it permanent," he said.
"We've had a tough year. The risk is minimal. I know lots of families are covered by 20 but many aren't.
"Maybe we should double it to 40 or even 50. As a Christmas bonus gift we should lift that restriction."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously indicated she believes it is safer for families to dine out at Christmas but Mr Barilaro said he intended to raise the proposal with senior ministers at the state emergency operations committee.
No new community transmission of COVID was recorded in NSW on Wednesday for the fourth day in a row, with four new cases in hotel quarantine.
The Pfizer vaccine, which is based on groundbreaking mNRA technology, needs to be stored at -70C, with the world now scrambling to organise the logistics of a rollout.
There were already shortages of dry ice in the US this year and the increased demand for the millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to stretch supply.
Originally published as Barilaro keen to lift restrictions on guests in homes at Christmas