Australia unlikely to fully reopen borders in 2021: Health chief

SYDNEY: Australia may not fully reopen its international borders this year even if most of the population is vaccinated against the coronavirus, the head of its health department said yesterday, as the country recorded zero local Covid-19 cases.

Authorities are also looking at potential adverse effects of the Pfizer vaccine after Norway reported a small number of deaths among the elderly who received the shot.

"Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission," Dr Brendan Murphy said in a local TV interview.

Australia has reported over 22,000 local infections and 909 deaths so far. It will begin its immunisation programme next month. - REUTERS