Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed Australia has secured 85 million Pfizer vaccines as booster shots that will start next year.
Delivery will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and enable booster coverage throughout the year.
“This virus is not going away,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
“There is one ticket out of this crisis and that’s vaccinations.”
Former Labor leader Bill Shorten said the announcement was better late than never.
“I don’t think Australia should waste time for the promise … I’m worried about the people in Sydney right now,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.
Given the growing crisis in NSW, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) now says any adult in the greater Sydney area are strongly recommending people receive the vaccine, regardless of which one they are eligible for.
ATAGI had previously recommended that those under 60 should only get the Pfizer jab because of the extremely rare risk of blood clotting from having the vaccine in younger people.
“That’s important because we know that we have got AstraZeneca available, but we haven’t seen a huge take-up,” Mr Frydneberg said.
But he dismissed the idea that the AstraZenecaa vaccine is suffering from brand damage.
“No it’s not, because what we now have is the spread of the virus in NSW, the dangers that poses,” he said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller agreed that the only way out of the crisis is vaccination.
“The way the Delta variant is running through, particularly in Sydney at the moment, is that I can’t see us getting down to zero for some time,” he told Sky News.
The state crisis turned ugly on Saturday as protesters took to the streets after weeks of lockdown in the Greater Sydney area, including violent clashes with police.
Mr Frydenberg was blunt in his thoughts on the march, saying they have no place in the middle of a pandemic.
“Stupidity writ large. Just shocking, really shocking images,” he said.
“Those protesters should be condemned for, not just breaking the health orders and there for breaking the law, but for putting in danger their fellow Australians.”