Kevin Rudd responds after Pfizer meeting over vaccine supply sparks spat with federal government

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Pfizer has downplayed the role former prime minister Kevin Rudd played in fast-tracking shipments of vaccines to Australia.

The pharmaceutical giant said it was inaccurate to suggest any individual or third party had any role in the contractual agreements.

“The only two parties involved in these agreements are Pfizer and the Australian government,” a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

“All agreements and supply arrangements including dose planning are exclusively made with the federal government, and details of the agreement and discussions are confidential.

“All discussions on supply and procurement with the federal government are led by Pfizer representatives in Australia.”

Pfizer has disputed reports former PM Kevin Rudd played a role in fast-tracking vaccine shipments. Credit: AAP

Rudd contacted Pfizer at the insistence of senior Australian business leaders based in the United States.

They were concerned Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not pushing hard enough and may have offended Pfizer by sending junior public servants into negotiations.

Rudd met virtually with the global head of Pfizer Albert Bourla on June 30 and asked whether the delivery of Australia’s doses could be brought forward.

Minister’s reaction

The pharmaceutical boss agreed to investigate what could be done.

Rudd then wrote Morrison a letter to brief him on the discussions, with a deal announced eight days later.

Pfizer has committed to delivering more doses to Australia sooner than expected, with one million doses to be rolled out each week from mid-July.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he chuckled when he read reports of Rudd’s involvement in the outcome.

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