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The Informer: Bumps in the road impact vaccine rollout

The road to vaccination across Australia seems strewn with bumps right now. Photo: file
The road to vaccination across Australia seems strewn with bumps right now. Photo: file

Do you get the feeling Australia's vaccine rollout hasn't been quite as smooth as perhaps intended?

Criticism began late last year when Labor leader Anthony Albanese called for movement at the station before Christmas. He wasn't the first to ask the question.

The government announced it was accelerating the process but was hamstrung by global supply constraints and the late February/early March timeline was settled upon.

The debacle in Queensland aged care facility revealed yesterday, just four days into the operation, has done little to foster confidence in the whole process.

Investigations are under way after the only two residents to receive shots at Brisbane's Holy Spirit Nursing Home on Tuesday were given four times the correct dosage of the Pfizer vaccine.

And with that, it seems the brakes have been touched. In the NSW Riverina, at least.

Some Wagga aged care centres were due to start vaccinating their residents on Wednesday but the supplier for NSW and Queensland, Healthcare Australia (HCA), advised that delivery had been pushed back, the Daily Advertiser reported today.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said HCA had "slowed down" its vaccine delivery in some areas of NSW in response to a "demand from the [Health Department] that they provide an absolute guarantee of clinical certainty and quality".

Mr Hunt also told Parliament on Thursday, Healthcare Australia CEO Jason Cartwright has "been stood aside".

Over on the western seaboard they've hardly shot out of the starting blocks either. In fact, only yesterday did Premier Mark McGowan defend the speed of the process.

"I think it will pick up very quickly and we'll see major take-up of vaccinations across Western Australia over time. Obviously there's limited supplies initially so we're getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible and over time that will increase as more supplies come to hand."

WA will receive about 5000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week for the first three weeks, with the majority reserved for WA Health.

Meanwhile as NSW prepares to ease COVID-19 restrictions, people flying in from Auckland are being ushered into compulsory hotel quarantine. NSW Health introduced the new order on Thursday after the New Zealand government reported three additional virus cases in Auckland on Wednesday. Victoria imposed similar restrictions on Wednesday night.

Talking about quarantine, here's something to savour. It's a reminder that stereotypes are just that - not everyone is down on quarantine and not all athletes behave like boorish pelicans. Take two-and-a-half minutes and enjoy the Kaiviti Silktails offering up their thanks.

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