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Federal medical chief says rumour Australia knocked back Pfizer is ‘completely false’

Neil Mitchell
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly

Australia’s medical chief has slammed rumours the federal government was offered enough Pfizer to vaccinate the entire population and knocked it back.

Three weeks ago, the ABC’s Dr Norman Swan said he’d heard from several sources that the Pfizer deal was mishandled.

The story has since spread widely, with Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino repeating it at press conferences this week.

“Last July, there was an offer of Pfizer to the Commonwealth government that would be enough for our country and they didn’t take it up,” Mr Merlino said.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, says that’s not true.

“It’s completely false,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Pfizer has also denied making such an offer.

Professor Kelly also shared an optimistic view on the COVID-19 situations in Victoria and NSW.

He’s confident the risk posed by the two COVID-19 cases in Victoria yesterday is “under control”.

“The risk … is extremely low,” he said.

In Sydney, too, he’s confident, saying contact tracers have “really done a good job of linking together many of the sites that were previously mysteries”.

Press PLAY below to hear Professor Kelly’s outlook on Australia’s battle against COVID-19

Image: Mark Evans / Getty

Neil Mitchell