Timetable for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Scrapped


    Timetable for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Scrapped

    Scott Morrison has abandoned plans to give all Australians their first vaccine dose by the end of October.

    The prime minister dumped the target after Australian medical authorities recommended people under the age of 50 get the Pfizer vaccine instead of AstraZeneca because of blood clotting concerns.

    He has conceded not all Australians will get their first dose by the end of the year, even though the government has doubled its order of the Pfizer vaccine.

    His decision to throw out the timetable has thrown the rollout into chaos but Jane Halton from the National COVID-19 Commission is calling for calm.

    “The trick now is for people just to calm down a little bit and get back to basics,” she told Nine on Monday.

    “We need to vaccinate the nation, we need to have the vaccines to do that, we’re going to get Pfizer at the end of this year and there will be 40 million doses in total of Pfizer.”

    Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese described the rollout as a shambles.

    “Beyond belief that the Morrison government seem to have no idea about vaccination timetables when this should have been their main focus given they have handed most responsibility to the states,” he said.

    But federal frontbencher David Littleproud defended the vaccine strategy, arguing Australia’s progress should not be compared to other countries.

    “I don’t think any Australian would want the Chinese vaccine or the Sputnik vaccine,” he told Nine.

    “Australia has been calm and methodical about making sure that we give the best vaccine with confidence, and however long it takes, it takes.”

    Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws says unless national vaccination rates ramp up to between 100,000 and 120,000 per day, it will take two years for Australians to be fully vaccinated.

    The latest daily tally was 27,209.

    The McKell Institute has found vaccine delays will increase the chance of lockdowns and hurt the economy, warning to cost could be more than $1.4 billion.

    Trade Minister Dan Tehan will travel to Europe on Wednesday to urge German, Belgian and French counterparts to do what they can to increase vaccine production.

    Many of the world’s vaccines, including AstraZeneca and Pfizer, are manufactured in Europe.

    But because of the continent’s export controls, it has effectively blocked contracted supplies to countries including Australia.

    Meanwhile, thousands of Australia’s most vulnerable are still waiting for their first vaccine dose, eight weeks into the rollout.

    People who live and work in specialist disability accommodation were supposed to be included in phase 1a of the vaccine rollout.

    But Aruma chief executive Andrew Richardson, whose organisation runs about 350 group homes, said his clients and staff had been overlooked.

    “It’s shameful – not one person with a disability living in any Aruma supported independent living setting has been vaccinated,” he told ABC radio.

    David Moody from National Disability Services said there were similar stories across the country.

    “We have many members who continue to be understandably concerned,” Mr Moody said.

    Published at Sun, 11 Apr 2021 23:51:33 +0000