Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has fired a shot at Scott Morrison as he ramps up the state’s vaccination rollout.
Prime minister Scott Morrison blindsided state premiers on Thursday by declaring that that all Australians aged 16-39 would be eligible for a Pfizer vaccine from August 30.
In a fiery press conference on Tuesday, Mr Andrews revealed 15,000 people had cancelled their AstraZeneca appointments on Monday after realising they would soon be eligible for Pfizer instead.
‘I did not make announcements about Pfizer last Thursday that saw AstraZeneca appointments cancelled, some 15,000 cancelled yesterday,’ Mr Andrews said.
He also took at swipe at Covid-ravaged NSW which he blamed for Victoria’s latest outbreak, saying he would ‘send it [Delta outbreak] back to where it came from’ if he could.
The comments came as Mr Andrews revealed residents as young as 16 will be able to book for a jab when 830,000 new appointments open up from 7am on Wednesday.
Over-18s will have a choice between Pfizer and AstraZeneca while 16 to year-olds and 17-year-olds will only have access to Pfizer.
Victoria has ramped up its vaccination rollout with 830,000 new appointments open up from 7am Wednesday
Victoria is in a harsh lockdown with masks required at all times outside, with no end in sight at least until there are much higher vaccination rates
The Premier doubled down on his criticism of Mr Morrison as he pleaded with Victorians to keep their AstraZeneca bookings to ensure six million jabs don’t go to waste.
‘It is not for politicians to tell you what vaccine to get, the doctor should tell you,’ he said.
‘If you haven’t got a GP and come to our clinics, I’ve made sure all of those clinics, there is a senior health professional who can sit with you and talk with you about which vaccine is best for you.
‘You can make an informed choice.
‘An appointment today is better than an actual appointment to get the job today is better than a booking and/or four weeks. But the bookings are unimportant.’
The additional bookings will be available online from 7am Wednesday.
Those with existing AstraZeneca appointment will get the option of having Pfizer instead.
Mr Andrews lost his cool after a reporter accused him of delving into the existing limited Pfizer supplies.
‘I’m getting it into people’s arms fast I can. I did not do the ordering. And I don’t provide the medical advice on what safe is and what isn’t. That’s for others,’ Mr Andrews hit back.
‘But I won’t stand here and say to people you must get Astra today, when I’ve got Pfizer in the fridge. That wouldn’t be right. That would not be right. I’ve also seen 10,000 appointments cancelled a day and like yesterday was 15,000. So there comes a point where what you’d like and what you face are sometimes
different. I didn’t make those announces last week. Others did. But I can’t change that. So there is a choice available. And I would encourage people to come and get vaccinated as fast as they can.
Victoria recorded 50 new cases on Tuesday as the Shepparton outbreak in regional Victoria grows (pictured locals being tested)
The Premier added the number of Victorians aged 18 to 59 far outweighed the Pfizer doses available from the Commonwealth.
‘There isn’t, at this stage, enough for every single person who will want to come forward and make a booking, but if we can get these appointments out the door, if we can get these jabs into arms over the next four weeks we will achieve our target of one million (doses),’ Mr Andrews said.
‘The best vaccine you can get is the one that you can get today.
‘But please, if you haven’t had your vaccination yet, just book it in today to protect yourself and your loved ones.’
He called on other leaders at state and federal level to work together
‘People often say this in very binary terms, you know, zero cases…but in the long term like a medium and long-term goal.
‘So could you get to zero and be at zero for three months, six months, that’s going to be incredibly difficult, particularly when you look at how many cases are raging up in NSW and the fact that there is still some movement between NSW and Victoria.
Now that’s where I’ve said a few times and New South Wales kind of sets the tone for all, this seems like there are in fact national decisions – I’ve made the point they’re not just New South Wales cases they’re in fact Australian cases.
So, can we get to zero. That is to say, can we get to a very low number.
Victoria recorded 50 new cases of coronavirus including an outbreak at a major hospital that forced dozens to isolate.
Mystery cases not yet linked to others in the outbreak halved from Monday to just 10 and 11 were infectious in the community.
They were diagnosed from 48,424 tests and 29,810 vaccine doses were administered on Monday, pushing the double-jabbed over 31 per cent.
Of the 34 cases in hospital, nine are in intensive care and most are being ventilated.
Of the state’s 522 active cases, more than a fifth (113) are under the age of 10, 101 are between the ages of 10 and 19, and 92 are in their 20s.
‘That makes it a point beyond any doubt that this is relevant to all age groups’, Mr Andrews said.
‘It is very much everybody’s business, if that were ever in doubt.’
Dozens of staff from another major Melbourne hospital are isolating after being exposed to Covid-19, as Victoria’s coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate.
The state’s Covid-19 Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said health teams are working around the clock ‘to run after all these cases’.
But if Victorians continued to work together then ‘we can absolutely’ put a ring around the outbreak and come out of lockdown on September 2, he added.
‘Those numbers will continue to rise but the onus is now on the wider community because this Delta moves wildly quickly,’ he said.
St Vincent’s Hospital confirmed 24 emergency department staff are now in quarantine after being ‘potentially exposed to Covid-19’, a spokesman said on Monday night.
The hospital’s emergency department has been listed as a tier two exposure site with anyone who visited on August 14 between 7.20am and 5.40pm urged to get tested and isolate until a negative result.
Victoria has recorded 71 new cases of coronavirus , its biggest increase in a single day since the tail end of the state’s second wave last September. Pictured are health workers at a drive-through COVID-19 Vaccination Centre in Campbellfield.
Hundreds of staff from Royal Melbourne Hospital (pictured) have been plunged into isolation as the outbreak grew to 10 cases
St Vincent’s continues to operate as normal with no impact on the hospital’s wider services, and its infection control team is providing support ‘as a matter of urgency’.
Royal Melbourne Hospital is dealing with its own outbreak after five staff and patients tested positive after surgery was performed on an infected Shepparton man on August 12.
Late on Monday, the government added Notre Dame College in Shepparton, Sirius College Meadow Fair Campus in Broadmeadows and a Woolworths supermarket at Altona North to an expanding list of tier one exposure sites.
Meanwhile, new rules around childcare and authorised workers came into effect overnight.
From 11.59pm Monday only authorised workers can access childcare, kindergarten and early childhood services, with workforce permits required to leave home for work.
Workforce caps will apply across several industries including construction, abattoirs, meat, poultry and seafood processing.
Mr Weimar said children were collapsing and vomiting at school with how ill they are and with health officials finding a number of people in the household are also positive (stock image)