NSW hospitals could soon be called in to help boost the vaccine rollout following days of fiery exchanges between state leaders and the federal government.
Each this week blamed the other for failing to reach their individual vaccine targets.
About 750,000 jabs have been administered nationwide so far – well short of the four million target which was expected to be achieved by the end of March.
This means 200,000 people will need to roll up their sleeves every day to reach the goal of all Australian adults getting their first dose of the jab by the end of October.
State leaders argue they’re being left in the dark about how many doses they’re getting and have slammed the federal government for accusing them of stockpiling vaccines.
On Thursday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed her ongoing plea, urging the Morrison government to allow the state’s hospitals to help with the rollout if they fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
Ms Berejiklian’s calls have been answered with the federal government looking to accept her offer.
“I am pleased the prime minister in a letter received last night has welcomed our offer to use NSW public health services to administer vaccinations as part of Phase 1 and in time Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout,” she said in a statement obtained by NCA NewsWire.
“We need to work together to meet the federal government’s October deadline.”
The government plans to mass vaccination clinics for phase 2A, Professor Brendan Murphy told senate estimates last week.
Victoria has been given a head start with plans underway for four vaccination centres while more mass centres will be established in other states as the rollout program gathers pace.
Hospitals will be able to vaccinate people from group 1B but the decision to do so will lay with the NSW government.
Professor Murphy was repeatedly probed about vaccination targets but said it would depend on local supply from CSL.
“We want to wait and see what the output from CSL is before we give more accurate predictions,” he said,
“I am not in a position to give an exact figure. It would be pointless before we’ve got absolute certainty about the CSL rollout.”
Earlier this week, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard fired up during a media address declaring he had “never been more angry”.
His outburst came following a media report critical of the NSW government’s vaccine rollout. He appeared to blame the federal government for the story’s source material
“I am as angry as I have ever been in these 15 months of war against this virus,” Mr Hazzard said on Wednesday.
“I am extremely angry and I know there are other health ministers in the country who share similar views, state and territory health ministers.
“It is not appropriate that we wake up and find figures put into the media that haven’t been shared with any state or territory governments. It is not appropriate that those figures be put in a light that is misleading.”
Premier Berejiklian, too, was disappointed, calling the report “misleading” and the situation “extremely unfair”.
The news report claimed NSW had been handed some 190,000 doses from the Commonwealth, but only administered about 96,000 of them.
Mr Hazzard took the opportunity to hit back at the federal government, saying their own vaccine rollout had been less than perfect.
“Let‘s get this really, really clear: The NSW government was asked to roll out 300,000 vaccinations to the groups in 1A and 1B. Of that we have done 100,000,” he said.
“The Federal Government was asked and is responsible for 5.5 million people and they have rolled out 50,000. I think the figures speak for themselves.”