The blame game for the slow vaccine rollout continues to stir as taunts between Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles and a federal Coalition frontbencher gets personal.
The jab program has fallen well behind schedule, leading to David Littleproud further infuriating state governments by ordering them to “pull their finger out”.
But Mr Miles echoed the sentiment of other interstate contemporaries when he blamed the Morrison government for failing to provide ample stock of either of the vaccine dosages.
He told reporters on Thursday morning that the Sunshine State had just a three-day supply of the Pfizer vaccine on hand, and 12 days of the AstraZeneca jab, declaring “David Littleproud is 2021’s April fool.”
“At current rates that could just be eight to nine days,” Mr Miles said.
“If you think about the fact that that is the vaccine that we are distributing to our regions and to our remote communities, we need ample supply of that to ensure our hospitals have it.”
The comments clearly unsettled Mr Littleproud, who released a statement on Thursday afternoon taunting Mr Miles over a shift in ministerial duties.
“I won’t be lectured to by a man who was sacked as health minister and a government that was derelict in their duty of protecting their frontline health workers by not having them fully vaccinated before they treated COVID patients,” the federal Coalition frontbencher tweeted.
“My statements pertained to assisting the Queensland government roll out the vaccines they’ve left on the rack rather than in health workers’ arms.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese sided with the states, heaping the blame on the federal government for the slow rollout.
“And it’s also not good enough that the Queensland and NSW governments – and other state and territory governments around the country – don’t have information about supply, about when vaccines will be delivered, about in what proportion they’ll be delivered, and about the rollout of the vaccine in areas like aged care,” he told reporters later on Thursday morning.
“This information needs to be made available.”
Mr Miles also continued his attempts to lobby the Morrison government to build a purpose-built quarantine facility in the outskirts of Toowoomba proposed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier in the year.
“Yesterday David Littleproud said that whatever the states needed, the commonwealth would provide,” he said.
“Well, we need a national quarantine centre so that we can reduce the risk of returning travellers so that we don‘t have to cut back on the number of returning travellers when we have an outbreak.”