Why Australia is the developed world’s COVID vaccine laggard

A timeline of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine saga courtesy of Justin Stevens, executive producer of the ABC’s 7.30 program

19/8/20 PM media release: “Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if it proves successful, through an agreement between the Australian Government &… AstraZeneca.”

7/9/20 Govt announces $1.7 billion Uni of Oxford/AstraZeneca & the Uni of QLD/CSL Manufacturing agreements. PM says “a home-grown sovereign plan for vaccines is the hope I bring to Australians today.”

5/11/20 Govt announced 2 more vaccines, Novavax (40 million doses) & 10 million doses Pfizer/BioNTech. PM: “…our Strategy puts Australia at the front of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.”

5/11/20 PM: “our policy and program, led by Prof Murphy, on getting Australia at the front of the pack when it comes to vaccines.”

11/12/20 PM: “…what we can do is vaccinate our population twice over. And we have one of the highest ratios of availability of doses of any country in the world…”

1/1/2021 PM: “we’re being careful to ensure that we dot all the Is & we cross all the Ts…We’re moving promptly to do that…but we’re not cutting corners…On the vaccine, you don’t rush to failure. That’s very dangerous for Australians.”

5/1/21 PM: “I don’t think Australians want us just willy-nilly sending out vials of vaccine that haven’t had their batches tested, which is the normal process that occurs with any TGA approved vaccine.”

7/1/21 PM: “we are now in a position where we believe we’ll be able to commence vaccinations of high priority groups in mid to late February.”

22/1/21 PM: “no we haven’t announced any date…we’ve talked about getting things done in mid to late February. These things…are very conditional upon the supply arrangements coming out of Pfizer in particular.”

22/1/21 PM: “our process is world leading. It’s world class. It’s a process that I believe Australians can have a lot of confidence in. We’re not rushing this, nor are we delaying it. We are getting it right.”

25/1/21 TGA approves Pfizer vaccine PM: “we remain on track to have those vaccines in Australia & ready to go from very small beginnings… very small beginnings, starting small…We are more looking at late February now than mid-February…”

1/2/21 PM: “from the end of February…we’ll be able to start vaccinating those in the most sensitive areas, those most vulnerable, those frontline health workers…& then over the course of the year, we expect to get through the population by October.”

12/2/21 PM: “our vaccination programme, it’s on track & it’s sovereign. We’re doing it here in Australia…within a matter of weeks, starting next week, as they finish, they do the final stage of that process. I call it the bottling process…”

15/2/21 Health Minister Greg Hunt announces “The Eagle has landed. I am pleased to be able to tell Australians that shortly after midday, the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived in Australia.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.