Publish your article here for free

00Slider Politics

Prime Minister Scott Morrison urges states and territories to reopen vaccine hubs

State and territory leaders will consider reopening state-run mass vaccination hubs in order to administer Covid-19 booster doses as quickly as possible as the Omicron variant fuels thousands of new daily cases.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said ramping up the state-run clinics, many of which have closed, would be key to meeting demand for third doses.

“It’s time to switch those back on. So we want to get those booster rates up. It’s important we get those clinics open again,” he said.

Mr Morrison will meet with premiers and chief ministers at an emergency national cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the booster program and Omicron.

Mr Morrison told reporters on Tuesday that about 200 state and territory-run vaccination centres had recently closed, as demand slowed in the lull between the Delta outbreak and the arrival of Omicron.
The commonwealth vaccine rollout was originally set to run through GPs but states and territories later opened their own clinics to speed up the process during the lockdowns this year.

Mr Morrison said there were “more than enough vaccines” for the third-dose rollout.

“I’m looking forward as the states have been now starting to ramp back up the clinics, over 200 that were closed over the last few months,” he said.

More than 1.6 million Australians are eligible for their Covid-19 booster shot but have not received it, according to the latest statistics on the booster rollout.

As of Tuesday, 1.5 million people had received a booster out of an eligible group of almost 3.2 million, according to the federal government.

This leaves a shortfall of almost 1.7 million people who are now more than five months out from their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine but are yet to receive their booster shot.

Australia’s expert immunisation panel has recommended people have their booster shot five months after their second dose, down from six months.
ATAGI is also considering recommending the interval be shortened further to fourth months, as well as if Australians should have three shots to be considered fully vaccinated.

State premiers have put pressure on the commonwealth government to ramp up the booster program.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has stared down calls to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing and other restrictions, but he has urged people to get their third doses as soon as possible.

Mr Perrottet has said he wants to see the interval between second and third doses be cut to four months.

“We want to do whatever we can to provide whatever support we can because the faster we get booster shots into arms, the safer the community will be as we continue to open up here in NSW,” he said.

The Australian Medical Association has also called for more state-run clinics to be opened, warning there is little point in shortening the period between shots without the workforce to administer them.

“The reality is we just can’t get more boosters into arms, because we don’t have the capacity through state run vaccination centres, GPs, and pharmacists to actually deliver more boosters than are being done at the moment,” AMA president Omar Khorshid said.

Dr Khorshid says governments need to “pull out all the stops” to make sure there is a vaccine available for everyone who needs it when they need it, “because that’s not the reality right now”.

National cabinet will also consider reintroducing some restrictions as cases continue to surge, although Mr Morrison has ruled out lockdowns and downplayed “worst case scenario” Doherty Institute modelling predicting 200,000 daily cases by early next year.

The Australian Medical Association has urged the commonwealth government to bring back some restrictions including indoor mask wearing and density limits, to contain infections as the booster program begins.

“They will not destroy the economy, they will not destroy people‘s Christmas, and they can keep a little bit of a handbrake on Omicron while we learn more about it, and while we get our booster program underway,” Dr Khorshid said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday the evidence was showing people were less likely to require hospitalisation with Omicron than with the Delta strain.

“You are less likely to go to ICU with Omicron and you are less likely to lose your life with Omicron,” he said.

“But having said that, the best protection is to be vaccinated. And if you are eligible and due for your booster, now’s the time to come forward.”


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

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :