Warning shots: Our half-hearted vaccine rollout
Several states in Australia - including NSW - have struggled to get barely half of the COVID-19 vaccines they have been given by the federal government into the arms of the most vulnerable and at risk people.
Allocation figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph show NSW has only administered about 50 per cent of the 190,610 doses it has received, while Queensland, now officially a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, has only administered about 55 per cent of the vaccines it has been given.
Victoria has only delivered about 44 per cent of its jabs, Western Australia has topped the country with 62 per cent, South Australia has done 35 per cent, Tasmania achieved 59 per cent, the ACT completed 57 per cent and the Northern Territory has done 53 per cent.
The states have been tasked with vaccinating priority frontline workers, including ICU nurses and hotel quarantine staff, in Phase 1A, while the federal government covers aged and disability care residents.
The slow inoculation figures come as Australia's vaccination rate per 100 people is being outstripped by countries such as Indonesia, Albania, Bolivia, Rwanda and Azerbaijan.
The states' approximate delivery success rates are based on analysis of the latest data, comparing the number of Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses given to each state as of March 29, to the total jabs they administered as of March 28.
As the states stall, GP clinics have surged ahead with the rollout, delivering more than 120,000 vaccines in one week.
The Queensland government has claimed its poor rollout record was due to a need to hold back second doses of the Pfizer jab, which must be given three weeks apart.
But the state has been repeatedly told this is not a requirement, with Australia's Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly debunking the myth again yesterday: "There is no need for a state or territory to be keeping any vaccine aside for (second doses), that is the Commonwealth's responsibility."
Prof Kelly said he would not "call out" any particular state or territory, but urged them to make sure what supply they did have was being administered.
"We are encouraging all of our partners, once that vaccine is there, to make bookings available to people."
Prof Kelly acknowledged "until recently" everyone had been impacted by "limited supply". "It's been shared around to the states and territories, now to GPs, respiratory clinics, and into aged care and disability care, and we are getting those out the door as quickly as we can," he said.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon said he believed the production of one million AstraZeneca doses locally would speed up the rollout, but agreed states could be doing more with what they have now.
"I'd like to see bigger percentages given out," he said.
Prof Collignon said decisions in Europe which meant about three million AstraZeneca doses initially expected to be delivered to Australia in March had unfairly impacted the government's rollout plan.
"In Phase 1A and 1B there are about six or seven million people, so you need 14 million doses," he said. "With the influenza vaccination we manage to get through 10 to 12 million people a year over three months, so it's doable."
On Monday Australia gave out a record 55,597 vaccines in one day.
BYRON ANTI-VAXXERS STILL REFUSE JAB EVEN AS COVID CLOSES IN
Byron Bay anti-vaxxers are standing firm in their belief COVID-19 is a "farce" and refusing to be vaccinated despite coronavirus creeping closer.
At least four venues, including The Beach Hotel and The Farm, have been linked to Queensland's COVID outbreak.
No cases of the virus have been recorded in NSW despite multiple people carrying the virus while attending a hen's party in Byron Bay last week.
Human rights activist and anti-vaxxer Sherrie Yeomans told The Daily Telegraph the recent scare would not prompt her to get a vaccination.
"No, I'm not at all more willing to get a COVID vaccination. My view is that COVID is a farce," she said.
"There's all of 900 people that have died in Australia from COVID, many of my friends and my own business in Melbourne has suffered. We've lost so many people to suicide, we've lost so much over this COVID farce.
"I am not concerned about an outbreak (in Byron), it is a matter of common sense. I would never be one for taking a vaccine, I know many people up here would agree."
The Byron Shire has one of the lowest immunisation rates for children under the age of two across the state. NSW Health data showed that in 2020 only 63.6 per cent of children were vaccinated. The state average is 91.4 per cent.
Queensland had 78 recorded cases of coronavirus yesterday, including 10 recorded in the previous 24 hours.
Eight of the 10 cases were locally transmitted and two were found in hotel quarantine.
Patrons who dined in two cafes in Feros Arcade in Byron Bay on Saturday have been asked to get tested and isolate.
Mullumbimby local John Condie would happily get the vaccine and said he was sick of a vocal minority risking people's livelihood over their "conspiracy" theories.
"Their behaviour is annoying, it is scary, it is irresponsible. Their self-entitlement is outrageous."
'HUGE WASTE' AS VACCINES THROWN OUT
A family practice in Sydney's south has been forced to toss out 100 COVID-19 vaccinations after a courier company bungled their refrigeration in what's been dubbed a "huge waste."
A hundred elderly and vulnerable patients at Burraneer Family Practice in Sutherland will have to wait another fortnight to receive the AstraZeneca jab after they spoiled while being delivered by courier company Linfox last Friday.
Practice nurse Julie said they were "extremely disappointed" to find the breach tag activated when they were delivered because the shots had not been properly stored in Ultra-Low Temperature freezers.
"We had to cancel our patients after months of waiting. It's extremely disappointing because they expected the vaccines and it's a massive waste."
The vaccination vials must be stored in cold chain conditions of between 2C and 8C to be usable and any breach of these conditions will result in the vaccine spoiling.
Frustrated patients will now have to wait until the next delivery arrives on April 15 to receive the jab while other doctors across Sydney vaccinate their patients.
Linfox declined to comment.
Originally published as Warning shots: Our half-hearted vaccine rollout