Failed Vaccine Rollout
Scott Morrison is all about himself and doesn’t really care about you.
That’s why when things go wrong, he doesn’t take charge. But when things go right, he’s the first to take the credit.
The vaccine rollout has been shambolic from the start.
Mr Morrison always said that Australia was at the “front of the queue” for vaccines – but we now know that this claim was always a lie
Documents revealed under FOI show that Mr Morrison’s mate Greg Hunt ignored requests from Pfizer for a meeting that would have helped Australia secure millions of vaccines months ahead of schedule.
This must be the most significant public policy failure in the history of our nation.
Mr Morrison and his mates stuffed up – and when it became clear we were actually at the back of the queue for vaccines, Mr Morrison changed his tune and said that “this isn’t a race”.
If the Morrison Government had done their job, we could have had more Australians fully vaccinated, saving lives and avoiding months of unnecessary lockdowns and border restrictions.
It was always a race, and Australians are now paying the price for Mr Morrison’s failures.
Mr Morrison placed too many eggs in the AstraZeneca basket, and ignored expert advice to invest in multiple different vaccines to ensure that Australians had access to the best possible treatment.
As a result, Australia did not have the supplies that we need to quickly and safely vaccinate our whole community – making our vaccine rollout one of the worst in the OECD.
Mr Morrison set numerous targets and timelines to vaccinate our community – and he’s missed every single one.
Mr Morrison had two jobs this year: a speedy effective rollout of the vaccine and quarantine. He has failed both.
He’s always shifting the blame to other people, and he’ll say anything, if he thinks he can get away with it.
We now know how badly the Morrison Government has failed our community during the COVID-19 Pandemic – and how badly they mislead Australians about their failures to procure vaccines.
Scott Morrison is not interested in what you want or need. He’s only in it for himself.
He’s not on your side.
What you need to know
- Mr Morrison said that Australia was ‘front of the queue’ for the vaccine – but his Health Minister ignored requests from Pfizer to meet which would have helped us secure millions of doses of the vaccine months ahead of schedule.
- Countries like the US, Japan and the United Kingdom were making Pfizer deals back in July 2020 – but Australia didn't secure a Pfizer deal until the end of 2020, putting us at the back of the queue.
- As a result of this failure , Australia’s rollout was ranked as the worst in the OECD, and 113th in the world at the end of June 2021.
- Mr Morrison promised that 4 million Australians would be vaccinated by the end of March 2021. But, by the end of March, there were only 600,000 doses administered - some 15% of Mr Morrison's target.
- Mr Morrison promised that all aged care residents and workers would be vaccinated by Easter 2021. Shockingly, only 45,000 aged-care residents were fully vaccinated by April 10.
- Mr Morrison later abandoned plans to provide vaccines directly to aged care workers, and on June 30, only one-third of staff in aged care homes were fully vaccinated.
- Mr Morrison has missed every target that he has set – and now the Liberals dropped the idea of vaccine targets all together, and instead Australia has "horizons". The thing about a horizon is that you never actually meet it.
- Mr Morrison appeared on multiple media outlets on July 9 amid reports that Mr Morrison had struck a new deal to bring additional Pfizer into Australia.
- But Pfizer then contradicted Mr Morrison: "The total number of 40 million doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia over 2021 has not changed. We continue to work closely with the Government to support their rollout program.”
- It was later revealed that Mr Morrison never picked up the phone to the Pfizer Chairman to get more Pfizer for Australia. In contrast, Israel’s Prime Minister rang the Pfizer Chairman more than 30 times to ensure his community could.
Australia ranked 113th in the world, worst in the OECD
Mr Morrison claimed that Australia was at the front of the queue for vaccines – but this was a lie. By the time Australia’s vaccination rollout began in February, more than 200 million vaccinations had been administered across 101 countries around the world. In June, Australia’s vaccine rollout was ranked 113th in the world, and it was the OECD – a fact that even former Liberal Treasury Joe Hockey slammed.
“It's not a race. It's not a competition”
Scott Morrison had two jobs this year: a speedy effective rollout of the vaccine and quarantine. He has failed both – but now Mr Morrison and his government insist that “it’s not a race” to get Australians vaccinated and safe from COVID-19, even though the Budget Papers project that Australia will suffer through one week-long lockdown per month for the next year because the Morrison Government failed to vaccinate the country.
Target after target missed
Mr Morrison has failed to hit every vaccine target that he has set - and his refusal to admit his mistakes is leaving Australians dangerously exposed. The Morrison Government has now missed their ‘original’ target, their ‘revised’ target, and are well off-the-pace of their current target because they failed to procure enough doses of the right vaccinations.
Mr Morrison’s bungled vaccine rollout was made worse by constantly changing and confusing advice regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Morrison Government put all our eggs in the AstraZeneca basket – and now there is significant confusion as to who should get the AstraZeneca vaccine, and who should not. Mr Morrison was rebuked by medical experts for advising people under the age of 40 to receive the vaccine, only two weeks after his government raised the recommended age from 50 to 60.
“Very comfortable” with delayed aged care rollout
Mr Morrison promised that all aged care residents and workers would be vaccinated by Easter. But, by April 10, only 45,000 aged care residents were fully vaccinated. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck later went on to say he was “very comfortable” with the aged care rollout.
More photo opps, instead of more vaccine
Mr Morrison appeared on multiple media outlets on 9 July amid reports that Mr Morrison had struck a new deal to bring additional Pfizer into Australia. But, he was caught out when Pfizer contradicted him, "The total number of 40 million doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia over 2021 has not changed. We continue to work closely with the Government to support their rollout program.”
Mr Morrison did not pick up the phone to the Chairman of Pfizer. Not once.
Tanya Plibersek rightly asked Barnaby Joyce, “what’s the point of Scott Morrison?” after news broke that senior Australian business leaders called on former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to speak to Pfizer Chairman Albert Bourla. Mr Rudd was being urged to speak to Bourla after it was revealed that Mr Morrison, “had not directly spoken to the Pfizer chairman and Chief Executive Albert Bourla, as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had done on multiple occasions.”
Morrison’s Minister refuses to meet with Pfizer
Documents revealed under FOI show that Greg Hunt – Mr Morrison’s mate and Minister – ignored an important meeting with Pfizer that would have helped Australia secure millions of doses of the vaccine. Pfizer wrote in June that they wanted to meet with the Government urgently to discuss supplying millions of doses of the vaccine by the end of 2020, but the Morrison Government didn’t meet with Pfizer until August. By then, 130mil doses had been secured by the US and UK, and Australia was officially at the back of the queue.
We know the facts matter. Here you can find further details about Mr Morrison’s vaccine rollout failures.
- 28 Jul: Labor questions why Australia has put “all its eggs in one basket” with the AstraZeneca vaccine deal.
- 30 Jul: By the end of July, countries like the US, Japan and the United Kingdom had made Pfizer supply deals.
- 5 Nov: Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia is “well prepared” for the vaccine rollout and Australia is at the “front of the queue” for mRNA vaccines and announces a deal with Pfizer. Pfizer had already signed agreements to provide about one billion doses to 34 countries by the time Australia made its deal.
- 25 Nov: Mr Morrison announces a vaccine acquisition strategy he says “puts Australia at the front of the queue” for vaccines. “Next year we’ll be delivering that Covid-19 vaccine. We’ve got a strategy that puts Australia at the front of the queue for a safe and effective vaccine. Whether it’s one we bring here or one we develop here, our elderly, health and aged care workers and other vulnerable people will be the first to get it.”
- 8 Dec: The United Kingdom became the first country in the world to start administrating its citizens with a fully trialled and tested COVID-19 vaccine.
- 11 Dec: The Liberals change their spin from “front of the queue” for vaccines to “front row”.
- 11 Dec: The UQ COVID vaccine trials are abandoned after false positive HIV test results are recorded amongst participants. Federal Government terminates its agreement for 51m doses of UQ vaccine and increases AstraZeneca vaccine order from 33.8 million to 53.8 million and increases Novavax from 40 million to 51 million.
- 11 Dec: When a journalist asks Mr Morrison why he didn’t increase Pfizer order too, and if Mr Morrison is concerned about Pfizer supplies, Mr Morrison simply says, “Well I don't have those concerns.”
- 11 Dec: Labor again raised concerns that Mr Morrison was now focussing Australia’s vaccine strategy on just three vaccines.
- 28 Dec: Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australians who want the vaccine will be “fully vaccinated” by October. Mr Hunt says the Government wants to “under-promise and over-deliver”, and he says the rollout could finish ahead of schedule.
- 31 Dec: By the end of the year, vaccine rollouts were underway in Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
- 6 Jan: Greg Hunt says the vaccine rollout will be ‘brought forward’ to February.
- 7 Jan: Mr Morrison releases the national vaccine rollout strategy, where he promises:
- 4 million Australians would be vaccinated by end of March.
- At least 80,000 vaccinations a week will be rolling out from February.
- Six million people are meant to be vaccinated by May.
- A ‘five phase plan’ is announced, explaining who can receive the vaccine when.
- Aged care residents and workers are included in Phase 1a, and they are promised to be fully vaccinated by Easter.
We anticipate optimistically that we would hope to start the vaccination with around 80,000 vaccinations a week. That’s what we are targeting. And then seeing that build up over the next 4 to 6 weeks and we hope by the end of February- end of March, I should say, to have reached some 4 million population. That is a target. That is what we are working to.
Mr Morrison, 7 Jan 2021
- 25 Jan: Mr Morrison pushes back his 4 million Australian vaccinated by the end of March to early April, “The events of recent weeks, I think, will mean that 4 million position will be something that is going to be achieved in early April as opposed to late March.”
- 31 Jan: Health Minister Greg Hunt targets 40 million doses by 31 October, “Our goal is very clear, and our advice is very clear that we aim to have the country [20 million adults] vaccinated before the end of October.”
- 1 Feb: Mr Morrison promises to have all Australians vaccinated by October 2021, at a National Press Club event when he releases the “Covid-19 vaccine and treatment strategy”. Mr Morrison goes on to say in a media interview that same day, “that’s the plan to get through it all by then, we might get there sooner.”
- 4 Feb: Health Minister Greg Hunt includes the Liberal Party logo onto a Pfizer vaccination announcement. On 10 Feb, Hunt accuses the ABC’s Michael Rowland of ‘identifying with the left’ after Rowland asked why a government health announcement carried political advertising.
- 5 Feb: Health Secretary Brendan Murphy confirms that the end March target of 4 million doses won’t be met. Professor Murphy pushes the date from ‘early April’ to ‘mid-April’, “Initially, when we had more certainty over the international suppliers, we had a target of close to 4 million by the end of March. As the Prime Minister said, that’s likely to be more into middle April now.”
- 15 Feb: Mr Morrison explains that, “It is expected that ... at least 60,000 [doses] will be administered by the end of February.” This is a huge drop from Mr Morrison’s 7 Jan promise that Australia would be rolling out 80,000 vaccinations a week by the end of February.
- 16 Feb: Health Minister Greg Hunt confirms that the rollout to aged care will take approximately six weeks and reach more than 183,000 residents and 339,000 staff – equating to approximately 1.05 million doses by 4 April 2021.
- 21 Feb: Australia’s vaccination program begins, with Mr Morrison among the first to be vaccinated (with Pfizer).
- 26 Feb: Errors, cancellations and missed deadlines are reported as aged care providers express concern in relation to the booking process for vaccinations.
- 28 Feb: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 31,894 vaccine doses administered in Australia – that’s 28,106 doses short of Mr Morrison’s 15 Feb target of 60,000 doses. It’s also a whopping 48,106 doses short of the weekly target Mr Morrison set on 7 Jan.
- 5 Mar: Australia has asked the European Commission to review Italy's decision to block the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the country. However, the Morrison Government said losing "one shipment" would not badly affect its rollout.
- 10 Mar: Health Secretary Brendan Murphy again confirms the 40 million doses by Oct 31 target, “The major target has always been to offer every adult Australian a vaccine by the end of October.”
- 11 Mar: Mr Morrison tells Australians, “It’s not a race. It’s not a competition.”
- 11 Mar: Mr Morrison also confirms the 40 million doses by Oct 31 target, “Well, yes, Brendan Murphy tells me, just as recently as yesterday, yes, October, that’s the date and we are comfortable with that.”
- 11 Mar: On the same day, the Prime Minister confirms that 40 million doses will be administered by Oct 31, Professor Murphy retracts the 4 million doses by the end of October target. He then changes the target to somewhere between 20 million and 40 million doses by Oct 31, only to then insist the 4 million doses by the end of October target is still in place. Health Department Associate Secretary Caroline Edwards also got in on the action also retracting the 40 million promise, but then also reinstating it.
Professor Murphy: We don’t know whether we will be able to achieve two shots by the end of October.
Professor Murphy: Our message from government is to offer everyone a vaccine by the end of October and that’s the main, overarching point.
Senator Gallagher: But that’s one vaccine now.
Professor Murphy: It could be two vaccines. With AstraZeneca, most people will have had two by then, but there may be some at the end of October who might have only had one. But the great majority of people will have had two vaccines by then and everyone will have had one.
Senator Gallagher: I’ve heard the Health Minister; the Prime Minister and the Treasurer all say that people will be fully offered their vaccination by October
Professor Murphy: They will be.
Senator Gallagher: implying two shots. Your evidence today, Dr Murphy, is not that.
Professor Murphy: No, I’m not saying definitely one way or another.
Ms Edwards: The variable we’re talking about is whether every person offered a vaccine who accepts it has a second shot by October. That is now unknown, because of the changed scientific evidence.
Ms Edwards: We are still planning and hoping to have both shots by the end of October. In the event that we don’t get all shots by the end of October, then the second shot would be finished six weeks after the end of October.
- 11 Mar: Health Department Associate Secretary Caroline Edwards retracts the 4 million doses by April 15 target:
Senator Gallagher: This 4 million target — do you know when 4 million people will be vaccinated?
Ms Edwards: We don’t have a figure, or a date.
- 14 Mar: Health Department releases a new target of 6 million doses by May 10, and 40 million doses by Dec 2021.
- 31 Mar: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 600,000 vaccine doses administered in Australia. Some 15% of Mr Morrison's 4 million target announced on 7 Jan.
- 6 Apr: Health Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy sets several new targets:
- Phase one complete by June 30.
- 14 million doses by June 30.
- 20 million doses by Oct 31.
“We’re working to two major targets at the moment. One is to get all of phase one done [14 million doses], which is the vulnerable people in the community, by the middle of the year.
And the second target is to get ... every adult Australian allocated a first dose by the end of October”.
Professor Murphy, 7 Jan 2021
- 8 Apr: Mr Morrison announces the vaccine rollout will be “recalibrated”. The decision was made after ATAGI determined that AstraZeneca should not be given to people under 50 years of age.
- 10 Apr: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 45,000 aged care residents fully vaccinated by ‘early April’. That’s 138,000 people short of the target Mr Morrison set on Feb 16 to have all 183,000 aged care residents fully vaccinated by Easter. Mr Morrison also broke his promise to have all 339,000 staff vaccinated by Easter.
- 10 Apr: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 1,138,866 vaccine doses administered in Australia. That’s 2.8 million short of the target Mr Morrison set on Jan 25.
- 10 Apr: BROKEN PROMISE – Mr Morrison retracts all promises, “The Government has also not set, nor has any plans to set any new targets for completing first doses. While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved.”
- 12 Apr: Mr Morrison rules out setting any more targets, “Now, I’ve been asked a bit about what our targets are. One of the things about COVID is it writes its own rules ... so rather than set targets that can get knocked about by every to and fro of international supply chains and other disruptions that can occur, we’re just getting on with it.”
- 13 Apr: Mr Morrison asks National Cabinet to hold two meetings a week to try to get the nation's troubled vaccine rollout back on track.
- 15 April: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 1,359,665 vaccine doses administered in Australia. That’s 2.6 million short of the ‘mid-April’ target set by Health Secretary Brendan Murphy on 5 Feb.
- 17 Apr: Navy Commodore Eric Young appointed to manage the logistics of the program coordinating the supply and distribution of the vaccine.
- 19 Apr: Mr Morrison now says the vaccine rollout is a “sprint”, but, as he said on March 11, “it’s not a race…”.
- 20 Apr: Health Secretary Brendan Murphy said the aged care vaccination rollout “will certainly be finished in May”.
- 20 Apr: Only 6.5% of disability residents have been vaccinated, with disability home operators trying to book their residents into GPs for immunisations as they become more and more frustrated by the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Australia’s 6000 disability homes were part of phase 1a of the vaccine rollout, but the COVID-19 Senate Select Committee was told that just 93 group disability homes – or about 1500 of the 25,000 residents – had received their first vaccinations.
- 27 Apr: At Senate Estimates, Health Department officials promise that 13 pop-up vaccine clinics for aged care and disability staff would be opened by the end of May.
- 7 May: BROKEN PROMISE – Mr Morrison breaks his promise to keep National Cabinet on a ‘war footing’ until the vaccine rollout is back on track.
- 10 May: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 2,663,221 vaccine doses administered in Australia. That’s 3.4 million short of the target set by Mr Morrison on 7 Jan of six million vaccinations delivered.
- 11 May: Federal Budget includes an assumption that a, “population-wide vaccination program is likely to be in place by the end of 2021.” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirms this when he says, “The assumption [in the budget] is that every Australian who would like to get two shots of the vaccine will be able to do so by the end of the year.”
- 12 May: Mr Morrison contradicts Mr Frydenberg and says the Budget assumption of 40 million vaccine doses by Dec 31 is, “not a policy statement, nor is it a policy commitment”. He goes on to claim that there is no guarantee that 40 million doses will be delivered, “The budget papers themselves make no reference to first or second doses, Mr Speaker. It makes no reference to either of them, Mr Speaker.”
- 12 May: Finance Minister Senator Simon Birmingham says, “I expect some Australians will still be getting vaccinated next year.”
- 12 May: Health Minister Greg Hunt then resets the target to 40 million doses by Jan 7, 2022, “Our goal is to ensure that the whole of population has the opportunity, through supply, to access a vaccine this year. And if there are some who choose, because of personal circumstances, to have it in the last couple of weeks of the year and this then means they go into the first week of the next year, that does not affect any of the assumptions.”
- 13 May: Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said it had “never been part of our plans” to vaccinate 20 million Australians by Dec 31. This directly contradicts Greg Hunt on 12 May and Josh Frydenberg on 11 May. Mr Morrison also promised on 1 February that 20 million Australians would be vaccinated by Oct 31.
Well, can I say, that would — the clear aspiration is for government is to have available for everyone who wants a vaccine to have the first dose by the end of the year.
For it to be two doses, you would have to bring that forward significantly and that’s never been part of our plans, never been part of our plans, because there is 12 weeks between doses. And so, I don’t see where that suggestion comes from.
Richard Colbeck, 13 May 2021
I think we really do need to look for incentives, as many incentives as we can, for people to become vaccinated.
Professor Paul Kelly, 24 May 2021
- 27 May: Melbourne enters its fourth lockdown after a man unknowingly contracts the Delta variant of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in South Australia, and then travels to Melbourne. Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino says, “The vaccine rollout has been slower than we have hoped.”
- 27 May: Aged Care facility operators rejected Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck’s claim that some facilities and residents “have chosen not to take the jab, which is a little disappointing, but it’s been their choice.”
- 28 May: Australia cracks 4 million vaccinations – two months behind the original promise of 4 million vaccinations completed by end of March.
- 30 May: Both Trade Minister Dan Tehan and then Deputy Prime Minister (and Acting Prime Minister) Michael McCormack both proclaimed that the vaccine rollout was “not a race”. (Although, neither mentioned Mr Morrison’s April 19 proclamation that the rollout was now a “sprint”.
- 31 May: BROKEN PROMISE – Only three of the 13 pop-up vaccine clinics for aged care and disability staff promised by the Morrison Government on April 27 are open by the end of May.
- 31 May: Residents at five aged care homes in Victoria were confined to their rooms after four people connected with their facilities, including a 99-year-old resident, tested positive to COVID-19. The Morrison Government reinstates rules designed to prevent aged care staff from working across multiple homes.
- 1 Jun: Aged Care Minister Senator Richard Colbeck told ABC radio that he has no idea how many aged care workers have been vaccinated, despite the workforce including in Phase 1a, and the Feb 16 promise to have all aged care workers vaccinated by Easter.
- 1 Jun: Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed that at least 20 aged care facilities had not yet been visited as part of the Federal Government’s aged care resident’s vaccination rollout. Aged care residents were included in Phase 1a of the rollout and were promised on Feb 16 that they would be vaccinated by Easter.
- 1 Jun: Mr Morrison blames Health Secretary Brendan Murphy for the phrase, “it’s not a race”. Mr Morrison reckons he was just repeating the Secretary’s words. Mr Murphy quickly pointed out he was talking about the TGA approval process, and not the vaccine rollout.
- 2 Jun: Melbourne lockdown extended for a second week.
- 4 Jun: Mr Morrison appoints Lieutenant General John Frewen as the new head of a new COVID-19 vaccination taskforce, named “Operation COVID Shield.” Commodore Eric Young who was appointed on 17 April to manage the logistics of the program coordinating the supply and distribution of the vaccine, “will continue to have a senior leadership role in the Commonwealth vaccine operations centre”. Mr Morrison promises this will see the rollout “step up another gear.”
- 11 Jun: While Melbourne exits its two-week lockdown, Acting Premier James Merlino again calls for more vaccination supply, saying that he is “absolutely keen to increase eligibility” of the vaccine so that more Victorians can be vaccinated.
- 14 Jun: Health Minister Greg Hunt confirms that of the 360,000 aged care workers, only 86,353 workers had at least had one dose of vaccine, of which 46,201 were fully vaccinated.
- 15 Jun: Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck refused to set a date that the aged care vaccine rollout would be complete, telling the Senate that, "We've had to reset the vaccination process for the residential aged care workforce, because of health advice that we've received with respect to vaccinating the workforce and the residents at the same time.”
- 17 Jun: ATAGI releases new advice, with Pfizer now recommended for Australians under 60, instead of AstraZeneca because of a rare blood clotting risk. State leaders, including Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk raised concerns about the original ‘under 50s’ decision back in April, citing publicly available TGA advice which recommended AstraZeneca be used with people over 60.
- 19 Jun: The Morrison Government is forced by a Senate Order for the Production of Documents to release a new document that outlines the vaccine rollout plan. Vaccine targets have been replaced by ‘horizons’.
- 21 Jun: Lieutenant General John Frewen admits the Morrison Government has not launched a mass vaccination information campaign because it is concerned about supply: “we want to make sure that we don’t start the campaign until we’re comfortable that we can meet the demand that we hope will be engendered by the campaign.”
- 26 Jun: Sydney enters its first lockdown since 2020, with media across the globe reporting Australia’s slow vaccine rollout is causing the country’s cities back into lockdown. The lockdown seems to have been spurred by a quarantine worker (driver transporting crew from the airport to a quarantine location) contracting the Delta variant. The driver was not vaccinated.
- 26 Jun: BROKEN PROMISE – Two-thirds of staff working in aged care homes across Australia remain unvaccinated, despite the promise made on Feb 16 that all aged care workers would be vaccinated by Easter.
- 27 Jun: After five mine workers test positive for the Delta variant, Darwin enters a snap lockdown.
- 28 Jun: WA Premier Mark McGowan announces a snap lockdown for Perth and the Peel region after a third COVDI-19 positive case was detected.
- 28 Jun: Mr Morrison conducts a bizarre evening press conference from isolation in The Lodge where he promotes the idea that Australians under 40 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine if they wish to. Mr Morrison makes the statement while announcing that Federal Cabinet was providing indemnity for doctors who wished to recommend AstraZeneca. Mr Morrison also announced that National Cabinet agreed to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for the aged care workforce.
Journalist: Prime Minister, just with the changes to the indemnity for AstraZeneca, does that mean that people under 40 will be able to talk to their GPs and get the jab immediately, and if not, what would it take, if the older cohort don’t want the jab, for those people under 40 to get access to AstraZeneca if they’re willing to take on that risk?
Morrison: Well, if they wish to go and speak to their doctor and have access to the AstraZeneca vaccine, they can do so.
Journalist: Any age group?
Prime Minister: So, the answer is yes, they can go and do that.
- 29 Jun: The president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, says he does not endorse the prime minister’s announcement that anyone under 40 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from their GP, adding it took him by surprise.
- 29 Jun: The world’s eyes turn to Australia again as almost half of Australia’s population is now in lockdown after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces a snap lockdown for south-east Queensland, as well as Townsville and Magnetic Island after the Delta is detected in the state.
- 29 Jun: Multiple states questioned Mr Morrison’s decision to promote AstraZeneca to Australians under 40. Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said it, “was not a decision of national cabinet” and that, “what we need to do is just clarify precisely what it is that the prime minister has announced.” Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said, “the clinical advice from Atagi is that people under the age of 60 should preferentially get Pfizer”. WA Premier Mark McGowan said the decision was not one of National Cabinet, and the first they heard of it was Monday night.
- 30 Jun: Concerns increase about Mr Morrison’s promotion of AstraZeneca to under 40-year old’s, with Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young saying, “I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca. I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn’t die. We’ve had very few deaths due to Covid-19 in Australia in people under the age of 50, and wouldn’t it be terrible that our first 18-year-old in Queensland who dies related to this pandemic died because of the vaccine?”
- 30 Jun: Health Minister Greg Hunt was forced to defend Mr Morrison’s late-night comments regarding AstraZeneca, telling reporters that, “The medical advice has not changed. There's simply a recognition that the access for those who wish to make an informed consent decision can be broadened, consistent with the supply.”
- 30 Jun: State Premiers begin to publicly talk about their low vaccine stock levels.
- 30 Jun: BROKEN PROMISE – There were only 7,645,585 vaccine doses administered in Australia. That’s 6.3 million short of the target set by Mr Morrison on 6 Apr of 14 million vaccinations delivered.
- 30 Jun: BROKEN PROMISE – A month after Mr Morrison broke his promise to open 13 pop-up vaccine clinics for aged care and disability staff, there are still only three pop-up clinics open. The Morrison Government on April 27 that 13 would be open by the end of May.
- 30 Jun: Australia ranked dead last in the vaccination rollout amongst OECD countries, as measured by the population fully vaccinated.
- 1 Jul: Finance Minister Senator Simon Birmingham admits on Channel Seven that Australia is at the ‘back of the queue’ for Pfizer.
We've had challenges in terms of supply because European countries and drug companies have favoured those nations who've had high rates of COVID for the delivery of vaccines like Pfizer, which has put countries like New Zealand and Australia at the back of the queue in terms of receipt of some of those vaccines.
Simon Birmingham, July 1, 2021
- 2 Jul: National Cabinet concludes, and Mr Morrison announces a ‘pathway’ to a ‘four stage plan’, which will apparently lead to Australia reopening to the world. As the Guardian’s Katharine Murphy said, “The PM’s plan is the quicker we all get vaccinated, the quicker we get out of this; less an insight than a statement of the bleeding obvious.”
- 2 Jul: Lt General Frewen announces he has completed his “initial review” of the vaccine rollout and will now “war game” with the states and territories how, “we will fully integrate the national plan with all of the state jurisdictions plans and we will understand the specific requirements of the states plans.”
- 2 Jul: NT lockdown lifts.
- 3 Jul: WA lockdown lifts.
- 3 Jul: Queensland lockdown lifts.
- 6 Jul: Only 36% of the aged care workforce has been vaccinated, a long way from the promise to have all aged care workers vaccinated by Easter. When asked by the Morrison Government why it decided to not vaccinate aged care workers at the same time as residents, Lt General Frewen told ABC TV that, “hindsight is a wonderful thing.” Lt General Frewen also told ABC that he had been placed in charge of vaccination communications.
I was brought on by the Prime Minister to take operational control and the messaging around the rollout. I think the view is there’s a ... military planning, and the way that the military conduct operations, perhaps a more broader sense of coordination, to the plan (was needed). And the way that my position has been set up also gives me greater flexibility to reach across the full range of government agencies and departments and some of the other stakeholder groups that hasn’t been the case up until now.
Lt General Frewen, July 6, 2021
- 7 Jul: Sydney’s two-week lockdown is extended for a third week.
- 7 Jul: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg holds a ‘round table’ with business to discuss ways business can help rollout the vaccine. However, vaccine supply is still, of course, the critical issue.
- 8 Jul: Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Senator Linda Reynolds sets a new target for all people in residential disability care to be vaccinated by 30 September 2021.
…we are also making vaccinations available to workers and carers. We are doing it methodically, we are doing it, we are ramping it up. And I am very confident that within a matter of weeks everybody who wants a vaccine will have the opportunity to do so.
Linda Reynolds, 8 July 2021
- 9 Jul: Mr Morrison appeared on multiple media outlets on 9 July amid reports that Mr Morrison had struck a new deal to bring additional Pfizer into Australia. But Pfizer then contradicted Mr Morrison: “The total number of 40 million doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia over 2021 has not changed. We continue to work closely with the Government to support their rollout program.”
- 12 Jul: Reports emerge that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met with the head of Pfizer asking him to “advance the dispatch of significant quantities of the Pfizer vaccine to Australia as early as possible”.
- 12 Jul: In an interview with Sunrise, General Frewen confirms there is not enough supply of Pfizer to facilitate the vaccination of adults under 40s.
Lt Gen. Frewen: Kochie, under 40s can get vaccinated now. They just need to go to their GPs-
David Koch: No, no, with Pfizer.
Lt Gen. Frewen: ... GPs- no, with AstraZeneca right now, they can have a discussion with their GPs and get informed consent. We'll be bringing on additional cohorts into Pfizer later in the year when we have additional Pfizer.
David Koch: Okay. So if you're under 40, you'll have to get the AstraZeneca at least until later in the year. You won't have enough Pfizer for them?
Lt Gen. Frewen: That's right.
Lt Gen. Frewen, 12 July 2021
- 13 Jul: Confirmation that Mr Morrison never called the Pfizer Chairman to speed up Australia’s deliver of Pfizer, or to increase our order. This contrasts with Israel’s Prime Minister who called the Pfizer Chairman 30 times.
- 14 Jul: NSW lockdown extended by another two weeks.
- 15 Jul: Mr Morrison blames ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) for changing the advice on AstraZeneca, “It slowed it considerably and put us behind – and we wish that wasn’t the result, but it was”. Mr Morrison’s remarks are primarily seen as an attempt to shift the blame for the botched vaccine rollout. Experts are quick to point out that the Federal Government is responsible for making decisions regarding the rollout, and that Mr Morrison’s comments are placing undue pressure on ATAGI.
- 16 Jul: Applications close for the government to begin assessing companies and their capabilities to produce mRNA vaccines in Australia. This is despite after former Minister of Science Karen Andrews promising that it would take “nine to 12 months” before Australia starts producing a mRNA vaccine.
- 16 Jul: Defence Minister Peter Dutton publicly supports vaccine incentives. He says, "Anything to incentivise people to get vaccinated I'm in favour of."
- 18 Jul: Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, gave written health advice to Mr Morrison to outline how he should act while in quarantine in Canberra. However, Mr Morrison quickly ignores the CMO’s advice:
- 21 Jul: Mr Morrison holds a press conference contravening the direction provided by the CMO. Journalists and visitors are not vaccinated or required to undergo saliva testing.
- 22 Jul: Subsequent press conference is held without following health advice given by the CMO.
- 23 Jul: A similar press conference is held, with organisers yet again failing to ensure attendees underwent saliva testing or to be vaccinated.
- 19 Jul: Greg Hunt announces that Lt Gen. Frewen has indicated that adults under 40 will be able to start booking their Pfizer vaccination in September or early October.
- 21 Jul: Mr Morrison refuses to acknowledge justified concern and criticism of how he has handled the vaccine rollout in Australia, and how the slow vaccine rollout is exacerbating the NSW Lockdown in an interview with Adelaide’s FIVEaa radio.
Host: “The reason you’ve got 12 million people in lockdown is because you got it (the rollout) so wrong in the first place”.
Morrison: “No, I don‘t accept that…Right now, under no plan, was there any plan that said we’d be at 65-70 per cent vaccination in this country. Under no plan.
Morrison: “Australia was always going to be in the suppression phase this year.”
- 21 Jul: Mr Morrison again attempts to blame ATAGI for his slow vaccine rollout, instead of admitting he was responsible for taking the advice and acting on it.
It’s a constant appeal. I can assure you. It’s a constant appeal. That the situation in Australia faces should be managed on the balance of risk, as Atagi has said to me in the past.
When they made the decision to restrict or to have a preference for those under the age ultimately of 60 to have the Pfizer vaccine, they said that they made that decision on the balance of risk.
Mr Morrison, Press Conference, 21 July 2021
- 22 Jul: Mr Morrison gives a half-apology for vaccine rollout as he says:
Now, as I said yesterday, I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had. Obviously, some things within our control, some things that are not. And I am keen to ensure as we have been over these many months that we’ve been turning this around. I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year.
Scott Morrison, 22 July 2021
- 22 Jul: Mr Morrison announces that pharmacies would be able to administer AstraZeneca vaccines from August. However, the Pharmacy Guild then say they’ve been ready to rollout the vaccine for months, but have been unable to get an answer form the Morrison Government about why they can’t get involved.
Yeah, we would have liked to come on board earlier we would have had far higher vaccination rates, both first and second doses, if we had been playing earlier...
...to be honest with you we have never been given a logical reason why we weren't playing earlier.
Adjunct Professor Trent Twomey, National President of the Pharmacy Guild, 22 Jul 2021
- 23 Jul: Mr Morrison announces that NSW will not receive extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Adding to this, Mr Morrison announces that NSW would administer more first doses of Pfizer by increasing the time between the two jabs from three to six weeks.
- 23 Jul: The TGA approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children aged 12 to 15.
- 23 Jul: The TGA announces pregnant women are now considered a priority group in the vaccine rollout and have been moved to phase 1B.
- 23 Jul: Lt. Gen. John Frewen confirms to the Senate Select Committee on Covid 19 that there is no plan in place to ensure that Home Care workers get vaccinated as part of his rollout. This is despite Home Care workers entering multiple homes of older Australians every day.
Senator Gallagher: Is there an operational plan for aged home care that you're putting in place?
Lt Gen. Frewen: No, I'm specifically focused on the aged-care workers at this time.
Gallagher: In residential aged care?
Lt Gen. Frewen: Yes.
Gallagher: Because there are aged-care workers going into home care. So there's no plan at the moment?
Lt Gen. Frewen: Not a specific plan for that. I've got a specific plan to work on the residential aged-care workers who are now subject to mandatory vaccination requirements by mid-September.
Gallagher: Are you going to put one in place?
Lt Gen. Frewen: I will look to what requirements there are, Senator.
Gallagher: Okay, so it hasn't been part of your work to date?
Lt Gen. Frewen: Not a focused effort at the moment.
Lt Gen. Frewen, 23 July 2021
- 24 Jul: ATAGI issues new advice for residents of greater Sydney, urging those aged 18 to 60 to, “seriously consider” any available vaccine, including AstraZeneca.
- 24 Jul: Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd, confirmed NSW will get an additional 50,000 supply of the Pfizer vaccine from the national stockpile. However, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan then questions where the additional supply came from:
We don't know what this national stockpile is, that's news to us.
If there is a big warehouse sitting there full of Pfizer, my view is they should give it to the states and we'll put it in people's arms.
If you have spare Pfizer, please give it to us.
Mark McGowan, 26 July 2021
- 25 Jul: Mr Morrison defends MP George Christensen for anti-lockdown activism in Queensland, stating Australians have “free speech” and can attend rallies where public health orders allow. In addition to this, Mr Morrison condemns rally-goers in Sydney as “selfish”.
- 25 Jul: Mr Morrison has announced New South Wales will receive an extra 90,000 doses a week of the Pfizer vaccine amidst the ongoing COVID crisis in the state.
- 25 Jul: Mr Morrison states that the lockdown is the only way to control the COVID surge in Sydney. His comments stand directly at odds with Premier Berejiklian who has said a sharp rise in vaccination rates is the way to alleviate the ongoing COVID crisis in NSW. The Prime Minister stated, “let me be clear - there's not an alternative to the lockdown in New South Wales to get this under control. There is no other magic bullet that's going to do that”.
- 25 Jul: The Morrison Government announces a deal with Pfizer for 85 million doses. But, Mr Morrison refuses to disclose how much it will cost. Under this deal, 60 million doses will be sent to Australia next year, and the remaining 25 million are due to arrive in 2023.
- 28 Jul: Mr Morrison, who previously said ‘it's not a race’ piggybacks off the success of our Olympic athletes and claims we are on a “gold medal run” with our vaccine rollout. This is despite the fact that, at the time of his press conference, only 14% of the population were fully vaccinated.
…all of Australia, like our Olympians, we go for gold on, on getting those vaccination rates where we need to go, because the supply's there, the distribution's there, the pharmacists, the GPs, the clinics, and we make a, we make a gold medal run all the way to the end of this year. And, the sooner we get there, the sooner we get there.
Mr Morrison, Press Conference, 28 July 2021
- 28 Jul: Mr Morrison says anyone who wants to be vaccinated will be by the end of the year and that by Christmas, lockdowns will be “a thing of the past”.
Well, I would expect by Christmas we will be seeing a very different Australia to what we're seeing now. What we're seeing overseas is when countries do reach those much higher vaccination rates, then that does give their governments a lot more options in the suppression limitations they have to use to deal with the virus. Lockdowns become a thing of the past when you're at that level.
Mr Morrison, Press Conference, 28 July 2021
- 28 Jul: The Premier of NSW says their state will prioritise vaccinating year 12 students, going against the federal vaccine rollout plan. To do this Premier Gladys Berejiklian will have to redirect 40,000 vaccines destined for rural communities, sighting supply issues.
- 29 Jul: Mr Morrison releases the vaccination targets to transition to the next stages of his four stage plan to normal. At 70% of the eligible population fully vaccinated “special rules” would apply to vaccinated people. And at 80% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, there would be limited international travel and only highly targeted lockdowns. At the time of his press conference just 15% of the population was vaccinated.
- 1 Aug: The Premier of NSW says higher vaccinations rates are the “only way to live with Delta or any other horrific strain that comes along”.
- 1 Aug: Leading health experts questions Mr Morrison’s ‘70% eligible population target’ as more public health researchers suggest 80-90% of the entire population is needed to achieve heard immunity.
Part of the issue is they [the federal government] have never met any of the previous targets they have established. So they are setting very low goals so they can achieve them.
Grattan Institute Health program director, Professor Stephen Duckett, 1 August 2021
- 2 Aug: Liberal MP Jason Falinski says Mr Morrison “shouldn’t have said that” When asked about Mr Morrison’s infamous “it’s not a race” comments about the vaccine rollout.
- 3 Aug: Mr Morrison releases modelling behind National Cabinet decision to target 70% of eligible population for Phase B transition. The Document calls for a "reorientation" of the vaccine rollout to target younger Australians.
- 3 Aug: Mr Morrison says he will not offer incentives as Labor leader Anthony Albanese announces plans to give Australians $300 to be vaccinated.
- 4 Aug: Lieutenant General John Frewen, Mr Morrison’s hand-picked leader of the vaccine roll-out, calls for all kind of vaccine incentives to be considered:
I've said incentives is something we will consider…
…Yeah. Again, I've said, we'll look at all of the sorts of possible alternatives. I mean there's cash. There's the ideas of lotteries, all of these things have been discussed.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, 4 August 2021
- 5 Aug:SPC becomes the first company in Australia to mandate workers, contractors and onsite visitors be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Chairman said they made the decision because it was “the right thing to do”.
- 6 Aug: Mr Morrison says he won’t mandate vaccines in workplaces, backtracking on his earlier promise to make the vaccine as “mandatory as you can possibly make it”.
- 9 Aug: The Fair Work Ombudsman says “the overwhelming majority of employers should assume that they can’t require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus”. Legal experts point out that the Morrison Government does have the power to mandate vaccines, and currently uses it for other vaccines.
- 9 Aug: The peak body for the not-for-profit hospital network, Catholic Health Australia, calls on Mr Morrison to mandate vaccines for hospital workers as outbreaks spread through hospitals in NSW.
- 9 Aug: The TGA approves the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use in individuals above 18. However, Mr Morrison was only able to secure 10 million doses for 2021, with the majority not arriving for months.
- 11 Aug: The vaccine supply issue is so bad in Sydney that members of the public are forced to camp-out overnight so they could secure their vaccine. The line eventually grows kilometres long as people waited for the vaccine.
- 12 Aug: It is revealed that many of the translated pages on the Department of Health’s website are more than two months out of date, meaning that some Australian citizens have been provided incorrect or out-of-date medical advice surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccines.
- 13 Aug: The Western Australian Government says that they will require all travellers who wish to enter the state from New South Wales to have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Clive Palmer has already indicated that he will challenge this direction in court.
- 13 Aug: Labor Leader Anthony Albanese writes to Mr Morrison calling on him to allow Australian Defence Force medics to help run mass vaccination hubs in Western Sydney as the outbreak in New South Wales.
- 15 Aug: Mr Morrison is forced to purchase an additional 1 million Pfizer doses from Poland as the situation in New South Wales deteriorates, in part due to the slow rollout of the vaccine across Australia. Mr Morrison refused to acknowledge the failings of his vaccine rollout.
- 15 Aug: Labor calls upon the Mr. Morrison’s government to release the vaccination numbers of Indigenous Australians daily – state that the Morrison Government “needs to honest about the failure of the vaccine rollout for First Nations Australians”
- 16 Aug: Queensland will require all travellers from New South Wales, including essential border workers, to have at least one dose of the vaccine in order to enter the state.
- 16 Aug: Western Australia makes Pfizer available for the 16-29 age group, meaning all age groups in the state for which there is an approved vaccine can now book an appointment.
- 16 Aug: South Australia makes Pfizer available for the 16-29 age group, meaning all age groups in the state for which there is an approved vaccine can now book an appointment. In response to the announcement, the state’s booking website crashed under the weight of demand.
- 17 Aug: In an attempt to fix his shambolic vaccine rollout, Mr Morrison dips into the COVAX vaccine stockpile, a program set up to ensure that poorer nations could access the vaccine for their citizens. The 500,000 vaccines that Mr Morrison took from the program to fix his shortfall is twice the amount that the entire continent of Africa has received from COVAX during the same period.
“It is an indictment on Scott Morrison that his vaccine procurement strategy for a nation as wealthy as Australia was so late, was so incompetent, that he had to go begging and scraping into the Covax facility to acquire half a million Pfizer doses back in June. These vaccine doses were supposed to be available to poorer nations.”
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister Health and Ageing
- 17 Aug: Under pressure from Labor, the Morrison Government releases in depth statistics about the vaccination rate for Indigenous Australians. The data shows the failure of Mr. Morrison to vaccinate one of our most vulnerable communities - just 10% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have received two doses despite being in a priority group.
- 17 Aug: Mr Morrison, at the request of the Premier of New South Wales, announces that he will deploy 70 defence force personnel to assist in the vaccination of vulnerable indigenous communities. Despite being a high priority group under the Federal Government rollout, Mr Morrison has only managed to fully vaccinate 8% of the Western New South Wales indigenous community over the age of 16.
- 18 Aug: Labor releases a national strategy to vaccinate all first Australians in response to Mr. Morrison’s failure to protect vulnerable communities. The Morrison Government are yet to release a plan.
- 18 Aug: Qantas and their budget partner, Jetstar, announce that they will require all staff to be vaccinated. In particular, Qantas announce that all frontline employees – including pilots and cabin crew – must be vaccinated by 15 November 2021.
- 18 Aug: There are growing calls for Mr. Morrison to release a plan to vaccinate children as the younger population takes the brunt of the latest outbreak across the country. Mr. Morrison has not detailed any plan to vaccinate the 12-15 population ahead of ATAGI’s decision on the group. This comes despite his own government’s modeling showing vaccinating younger Australians is key to preventing further outbreaks.
“As many as a third of cases in the Greater Sydney area over the past fortnight [are teenagers], as we understand it. Parents are contacting my office and my colleagues to ask what is the plan to protect Australia's children and teenagers with a COVID vaccine?”
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister Health and Ageing
- 19 Aug: The AstraZeneca COVID vaccine will be renamed in Australia to Vaxzevria to match the name used in Europe in order to assist with the creation and implementation of vaccine passports.
- 23 Aug: A software engineer was able to produce a near-perfect forgery of the Morrison Government’s vaccine passport in 10 minutes utilising an ‘obvious’ flaw in the Medicare app.
- 24 Aug: Scott Morrison again guarantees that Australians will be able to travel interstate to visit family and friends by Christmas. As of 24 August, just 6.5 million Australians were fully vaccinated.
- 24 Aug: It’s revealed that the Morrison Government is paying a public relations firm nearly $3 million to promote the failed vaccine rollout. The Government refuses to say how much of this contract goes towards the daily email service they provide, which has been revealed to be simply forwarding statistics from the Department of Health to journalist.
- 24 Aug: Victoria expands eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine to include everyone over 16 years old. The pent-up demand for access to the vaccine causes the booking website to crash – twice.
- 25 Aug: Only six per cent of the Indigenous population is fully vaccinated in the Western NSW Local Health District. Scott McLachlan, CEO of the Western NSW Local Health District said, “We’ve still got a very low rate of vaccination, particularly double vaccination, for the Aboriginal community around western NSW. It’s down at around 6.3 per cent.”
- 25 Aug: Parents of children with disability are becoming increasingly desperate to access vaccines as the Morrison Government fails to provide enough vaccine appointments available. One mother of a 14-year-old child with Down’s syndrome turned to Twitter in a desperate attempt to find a vaccine appointment for her daughter. Children aged 12 to 15 with specific preexisting conditions were supposed to be able to access Pfizer vaccine from 9 August, and this week that was expanded to include all NDIS participants aged 12 to 15.
- 25 Aug: The head of Mr Morrison’s vaccine rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen, refuses to say whether 70% of Australians will be vaccinated by end of October.
- 25 Aug: It is revealed that the Morrison Government has only managed to fully vaccinate one-in-five aged care facilities, despite the workforce being in the highest priority group which was supposed to be fully vaccinated by April.
- 25 Aug: The head of the Australian Medical Association in Western Australia adds to the growing calls from experts calling on the Morrison Government to include children in its national vaccine rollout strategy.
- 26 Aug: More than 400 Indigenous Australians in New South Wales have contracted the virus since June 2021, as Mr Morrison’s disastrous vaccine rollout has failed to protect vulnerable communities in regional New South Wales. Despite this, Mr Morrison still has no national plan to help with the First Nations COVID crisis.
“Prime Minister talks about opening up while First Nations vaccine rates lag behind. The Prime Minister said that First Nations vaccines would be a priority, yet the reality is that First Nations vaccination rates remain critically low. First Nations vaccine rates lag severely behind the rest of the nation. “
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing (Media statement)
- 27 Aug: Children aged between 12 and 15 years will be able to book a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine appointment from September 13. Despite children now being eligible to receive the vaccine, Mr Morrison refuses to include children in the statistics the Government will use to measure when 70% and 80% of eligible Australians have been vaccinated.
- 27 Aug: New South Wales announces that from September 13, families in the highest-risk parts of Sydney will be allowed to leave their homes for an hour of recreation as long as any adults are fully vaccinated. The recreation hour is in addition to the hour people are already allowed out to exercise. Elsewhere in the state, groups of five will be allowed to congregate as long as all adults are fully vaccinated.
- 27 Aug: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that children aged 12 -15 years be added to the national vaccine rollout. ATAGI gave their official advice that the Pfizer vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ for this age group – but due to the Morrison Government’s failures, many children will be waiting months for the vaccine.
- 28 Aug: The Morrison Government finally announces the details for a compensation scheme for Australians who suffer very rare side effects of vaccinations, protecting medical professionals and employers who offer vaccinations. The scheme will only cover verified claims valued above $5000 by a team of independent experts.
- 29 Aug: In the absence of an effective vaccine public information campaign, the New South Wales Government has announced it will launch its own campaign.
- 30 Aug: The Guardian reports that older Australians will be denied access to mRNA vaccines contrary to ATAGI advice, even as supplies of mRNA vaccines are set to increase from 1m Pfizer doses per week from July to at least 3m per week of Pfizer and Moderna from October. When ATAGI approved Pfizer for children aged 12-15 on 27 August, it said:
ATAGI recommends that vaccination of 12-15 year age group is of a lower priority than older adults (as the direct benefits of vaccination in preventing severe COVID-19 are greatest in this group).
ATAGI therefore recommends that all strategies are considered, including provision of choice of vaccine to ensure older adults are vaccinated.
ATAGI, 27 August 2021
However, the Government has said 12- to 15-year-olds should get priority for the mRNA vaccines. Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association, has said “until we have free access to as much mRNA vaccine as we need, it’s unlikely eligibility will open up”.
- 30 Aug: Virgin Australia announces that it will make COVID vaccines mandatory for all staff from November 15. It follows a decision by Qantas to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for staff, also by November 15.
- 30 Aug: Pfizer vaccine supplies for Victorians seeking their first jab have run out in state-run hubs.
- 30 Aug: An unvaccinated Aboriginal man in Dubbo first Indigenous person in Australia to die with COVID. NSW Health reported that there were 561 active cases of COVID-19 in the western local health district on the day, 65% of whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Statistics reveal that just 31% of Aboriginal people in Dubbo had received their first dose of a COVID vaccine and 9% were fully vaccinated – less than half the 64.5% first dose rate for the broader population of the Dubbo local government area.
- 30 Aug: Mr Morrison announces that Australia has ‘overcome’ its vaccine challenges on the same day that Australia records its first Indigenous death from COVID-19. First Nations Australians are a priority cohort under the Morrison Government’s vaccine rollout, but only 20% have been vaccinated to date.
- 30 Aug: Documents reveal that the Morrison Government were warned at the start of the pandemic of a potential health crisis amongst Indigenous communities in Western New South Wales. At the time the documents were released, the region was experiencing the fastest transmission rate in the entire state.
- 31 Aug: It is revealed that 20% of New South Wales healthcare workers are still not vaccinated, despite being in priority groups that began receiving the vaccine in February. Unvaccinated healthcare workers in New South Wales will be required to stop working if they are not fully vaccinated by 30 September.
- 31 Aug: Mr Morrison is forced to engage in a vaccine swap with Singapore to make up for a shortfall in our supply of Pfizer. The Morrison Government will have to send 500,000 vaccines to Singapore in December.
- 31 Aug: The Australian Medical Association (AMA) calls on Mr Morrison to enact a vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers in Australia, including hospital staff such as cleaners, cooks, doctors and nurses, after a report reveals that over 100 people in New South Wales caught COVID-19 in public hospitals. Mr Morrison indicated earlier in the year that he is against such a mandate.
- 31 Aug: It is revealed that the Morrison Government’s vaccine passport can’t handle medical records for individuals who received two different brands of the vaccine.
- 1 Sept: The Australian Capital Territory opens Pfizer vaccine appointments to all Canberrans aged 16- 29.
- 1 Sept: Victoria outlines the case and vaccination numbers needed to safely lift the lockdown as the state struggles with a growing outbreak of the Delta variant.
- 1 Sept: Queensland requests more scientific modelling be conducted to assess the impact of the National Cabinet’s plan to ‘open up’ once the adult population reaches 70-80% fully vaccinated on children aged 0-12.
- 1 Sept: Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) are going door-to-door to vaccinate vulnerable communities in Western New South Wales where COVID-19 is severely impacting the large Indigenous population. Despite being a priority group under Mr Morrison’s vaccine rollout, only 20% of First Nations people are fully vaccinated – well below the national average of 37%.
- 1 Sept: Labor criticises Mr Morrison for failing to create a national plan to protect vulnerable First Nations people.
“The Morrison-Joyce Government’s failure to rollout the vaccine in First Nations communities, and its failure to have a nationally consistent plan ready, has made many communities around the country anxious for if or when COVID spreads to them.”
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing
- 1 Sept: Mr Morrison says that all states should adopt home quarantine systems once the nation reaches the 80% fully vaccinated threshold, and travel restrictions lift.
- 2 Sept: New South Wales firmly puts the blame on the Morrison Government for the COVID-19 crisis unfolding in Indigenous communities in Western New South Wales. This comes as 65% of all cases in the region are reportedly in First Nation communities.
“The issue across all the Aboriginal community is that the federal government had certain responsibilities at the outset. The fact that that has not been achieved is obviously disappointing.”
Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health
- Sept 4: Vaccines earmarked for inmates in New South Wales prisons are re-directed to HSC students despite multiple pleas for additional doses as COVID clusters in the state’s correctional facilities start to grow.
- Sept 7: The Premiers of Western Australia and Victoria call for a fairer distribution of COVID vaccines after it’s confirmed that New South Wales are receiving more vaccines per capita at the expense of other states. This comes after Minister Greg Hunt criticised a number of states for having slower rates of vaccination.
- Sept 7: Victorian Premier Dan Andrews accuses Mr Morrison of ‘secret’ vaccine deals to allocate more doses to New South Wales, despite a burgeoning outbreak in Victoria as a result of New South Wales’ failure to contain their original Delta outbreak.
- Sept 7: The music industry is forced to launch its own vaccine campaign to encourage Australians to get vaccinated so the struggling live music industry can return.
- Sept 8: Documents obtained by Labor under FOI reveal that Minister Greg Hunt refused to meet with Pfizer after they reached out to discuss “millions of doses” of the vaccine. The documents show that Pfizer wrote to the Minister in June 2020 requesting an urgent meeting to discuss our vaccine rollout, noting that they were in a position to rollout doses by the end of the year. However, Mr Hunt’s office took days to reply, and sent a bureaucrat to the meeting instead. Mr Hunt’s Office did not meet with Pfizer until August – two months later, and after the US and UK had signed a deal for a combined 130 million doses. The Morrison Government would not sign a deal with the company until November 2020, and Australia did not receive its first doses till February 2021.
“Scott Morrison’s failure to secure an early supply deal with Pfizer means that right now, more Australians are in lock down and fewer are fully vaccinated than any other developed country in the world. That is the price being paid by the Australian people for Scott Morrison's failings.”
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing
- Sept 8: Media reports suggest that international vaccine passports will be in place as early as October, with the Morrison Government in talks about what brands of vaccine will be included in the system.
- Sept 8: Mr Morrison confirms Australians will be able to travel internationally without an exemption once the country hits the 80% fully vaccinated threshold. Mr Morrison also flags home quarantine and shorter quarantine periods for returned travellers.
- Sept 8: Another Aboriginal elder dies of COVID-19 as 63% of cases in western New South Wales are found in First Nations communities. This comes on the back of reports that Wilcannia is being targeted with misinformation by individuals claiming to be health professional.
“The Morrison Joyce Government’s lack of communication with First Nations communities has left a vacuum that has been filled with misinformation. We’ve said from the very beginning that the Government needs to engage with local trusted First Nations community leaders and organisations.”
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing
- Sept 8: The Morrison Government finally supports an international push to apply a waiver to intellectual property (IP) claims for COVID-19 vaccines. Applying the waiver will make it cheaper and easier for developing nations to produce and access vaccines.
- Sept 9: It is revealed that New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian was told by health officials that the economy should remain shut till 85% of the eligible population was vaccinated. Premier Berejiklian and other senior ministers overruled the health advice, and insisted the threshold be set at 70%.
- Sept 9: New data shows that New South Wales received more doses of the vaccination than Queensland and Victoria combined in the month of August.
- Sept 9: New South Wales prison officials blame the lack of vaccine supply for outbreaks inside facilities. Over 160 inmates, including 40 Aboriginal inmates, have contracted COVID-19 during the latest outbreak.
- Sept 9: Police, teachers and health workers in New South Wales will be required to show proof of vaccination to work, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian refuses to make it compulsory at the New South Wales Parliament.
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