Morrison pushes sooner second vaccinations

Scott Morrison believes anyone who wants a vaccine will have the chance to get one before 2022.
Scott Morrison believes anyone who wants a vaccine will have the chance to get one before 2022.

Scott Morrison has urged all Australians to bring forward their second AstraZeneca jab with Sydney facing an explosion of coronavirus infections.

The prime minister on Thursday encouraged people to receive vaccinations against the deadly disease, which is becoming rampant in the nation's largest city.

Mr Morrison encouraged people to receive a second AstraZeneca shot within four weeks, a gap approved by medical regulators, rather than the 12 weeks recommended for maximum effectiveness.

"I need to get the whole country vaccinated as well and the sooner we get there and it can be done safely then we should," he told 3AW radio.

NSW recorded 239 new local cases of coronavirus on Thursday in another outbreak-high infection spike.

The spiralling situation has sparked a lockdown that will extend until at least the end of next month.

Mr Morrison is expecting everyone keen for a coronavirus jab to have been offered one by Christmas.

The federal government has missed several of its own vaccination targets including the initial benchmark of all people being given the opportunity for a first dose by October.

"By the end of the year, people who have wanted to have the vaccine will have had that opportunity," Mr Morrison said.

The prime minister will on Friday thrash out modelling with the states to determine the vaccination coverage Australia needs to stop rolling lockdowns and border closures.

"Will we get there in one meeting? No, I don't think we will," Mr Morrison said.

Victoria and South Australia have emerged from lockdown after bringing Delta outbreaks under control.

About 17 per cent of Australians aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated, leaving the country well behind developed nations five months into the rollout.

Disaster support payments have been increased from $600 to $750 for people who have lost more than 20 hours of work a week in lockdown areas.

People who lose between eight and 20 hours will receive $450, up from $375 a week.

Welfare recipients, previously been excluded from the payments, can get $200 if they lose eight hours of work a week.

Business support has also been boosted for NSW and Victoria.

In NSW, businesses and non-profits with revenue declines of more than 30 per cent will receive weekly payments of between $1500 and $100,000.

The expanded program's turnover cap has been raised from $50 million to $250 million.

But Mr Morrison flagged the program could change again if required.

Australian Associated Press