PM’s ‘sorry’ vaccine deployment targets missed | Blue Mountain Gazette
Scott Morrison has apologized for the vaccine rollout not meeting its targets, but insists some of the issues were beyond his control.
The prime minister has repeatedly refused to apologize for the failed vaccination program, which lags most developed countries.
“I’m sorry we weren’t able to achieve the results we were hoping for at the start of this year – of course I am,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
“But what’s more important is that we are totally focused on turning things around.”
A record 184,000 doses have been administered in the past 24 hours, but only 15% of the population over the age of 16 is fully immunized.
The deployment began almost five months ago, but the government has been forced to give up several self-directed targets.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers accused the Prime Minister of blaming it and sending mixed messages.
“This vaccine rollout has been a debacle from the start due to Scott Morrison’s failure to send a clear message, but more importantly to get enough vaccine,” he said.
Australia has abundant supplies of AstraZeneca, which is produced in Melbourne, but there is not yet enough imported Pfizer arriving for use by people under 40.
More pharmacies will be integrated into the rollout sooner with the aim of increasing vaccination rates in the coming weeks.
Chemists’ involvement will more than triple to 470 by the end of the month before thousands join in mid-August.
Almost 40,000 people under the age of 40 have received the AstraZeneca vaccine since the Prime Minister encouraged people to talk to a doctor about the possibility of taking it.
Mr Morrison continues to challenge the country’s immunization expert panel to reconsider advice that recommends AstraZeneca only for those over 60.
There have been five deaths in Australia from an extremely rare blood clotting disease linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine from more than 6.1 million doses.
A 48-year-old Victorian woman and a 44-year-old Tasmanian man were confirmed as the last two deaths from thrombocytopenia syndrome on Thursday.
Mr Morrison said the cases were terribly tragic, but stressed that the lives of more people were in danger if vaccination rates did not increase.
As of Thursday, 124 new local cases of the coronavirus were recorded in New South Wales, the highest since the start of the epidemic.
Health officials are preparing for the numbers to rise further with at least 70 people in Thursday’s numbers spending time in the community while infectious.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said none of the state’s 28 coronavirus patients in intensive care received both doses of a vaccine.
Victoria also recorded her highest daily total from the current outbreak with 26 new local cases, but only two were in the community while they were infectious.
State COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar said infected people who were fully vaccinated only felt very limited impacts from the virus.
Queensland will close its border to all of New South Wales from 1 a.m. on Friday, joining Victoria in putting in place travel restrictions across the state.
WA will close its border with South Australia where a cluster in Adelaide has grown to 14 cases.
Associated Australian Press