SYDNEY — Poland has sent one million COVID-19 vaccines to Sydney where the delta variant continues to spread, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
The first of the Pfizer vaccines left Warsaw via the United Arab Emirates and will arrive in Sydney over Sunday night, Morrison said.
Australia bought the vaccines after weeks of negotiations between Morrison and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki. Morrison did not reveal the price.
“A key factor in being able to secure these doses from our Polish friends has been that we have had a significant outbreak in our largest city,” Morrison said.
Sydney has been in lockdown since June 26 due to an outbreak first detected 10 days earlier. Surrounding New South Wales state was entirely locked down from Saturday because of recent infections detected in regional towns and virus found in wastewater in the state’s north and west.
Residents aged 20-to-39 in Sydney’s worst-effected areas would be given 530,000 of the new doses. This age group was responsible for most of the virus spread, Morrison said.
The remaining doses would be shared with other Australian states and territories.
Only 25% of Australians aged 16 and older had been fully vaccinated by Friday. Australia has one of the slowest vaccine rollouts among wealthy countries.
New South Wales reported 415 new infections in the latest 24-your period on Sunday. A record 466 new cases were reported on Saturday. Sunday’s total was the second-highest tally of the pandemic.
Four people had died overnight, bringing the death toll in New South Wales from the latest outbreak to 46.