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First doses of Moderna vaccine arrive into Australia

The first doses of the mRNA vaccine Moderna have arrived in Australia.

The precious cargo came into the country last night on an Emirates flight, which landed at Sydney Airport.

The second shipment of the vaccine is expected to land on our shores in the coming days.

One million doses of Moderna are expected to be in Australia from this weekend.

The coronavirus vaccine was created in the US and famously is partly funded by singing icon Dolly Parton, who gifted US$1 million ($1.37m) to aid research for its development.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) first gave provisional approval for the use of Moderna in Australia last month, making it our third COVID-19 vaccine, alongside AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said yesterday that over 1800 pharmacies will start distributing Moderna jabs next week, once testing by the medical safety body is complete.

“They will start aggressively during the week as they are ready and as supplies arrive to them,” he said.

More than 70 percent of Australians have now had their first jab and almost 97 percent of aged care workers have had their first vaccine, Mr Hunt said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed last weekend that Australia had secured an additional one million doses of the vaccine from the European Union.

The extra doses have been acquired from a number of nations throughout the EU including Spain, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Bulgaria.

“In addition, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is now recommending Moderna for everyone aged 12 to 59,” Mr Morrison said.

The much-needed doses have arrived as Australia reaches for 70 per cent vaccination targets to remove restrictions, after lockdowns were introduced in states and territories over the past few months.

Australia will need to reach 80 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated before international travel in and out of the country can resume.