/ 07 July 2021

More twists and turns on the vaccination track

Frustration with the COVID vaccination program flared again yesterday after it was reported that NSW Health approved a request by St Joseph’s College at Hunters Hill in Sydney for its 163 Year 12 boarders to receive the Pfizer vaccine in May. Joeys is one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic boys’ schools, and principal Ross Tarlinton said the request was made because they have many boarders from rural, remote and Indigenous communities. Last night, NSW Health apologised for the error and said they had intended for the First Nations kids to be covered. Only at-risk Aussies aged under 40yo are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at this point in time, including Indigenous people between 16-19yo.

It’s a bit about these private school kids, but it’s a lot about broader frustrations over access to vaccinations. On Monday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reapplied pressure to the Federal Government over vaccine supplies likening eligible residents’ hunt for a dose to the Hunger Games. NSW Education Federation President Angelos Gavriolatos yesterday summed up the anger of many, saying: “We are looking at a situation in Australia where aged care workers have yet to be vaccinated; a host of frontline workers have yet to be vaccinated. Teachers and education workers are still seeking prioritisation and now we read this. It has left us speechless,” he said. He clearly wasn’t speechless, but you catch his drift…

It sure does… The Federal Government yesterday sought to instil some confidence with the head of the COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce Lieutenant General John Frewen and health officials nationwide ‘wargaming’ it. Frewen says the under 40yos will be able to get their jab by “September or October” when supplies of the Pfizer vaccine pick up and the first Moderna jabs land. And he’s meeting with business leaders today to discuss how they can facilitate shots for workers like they do with annual flu shots. As for specific dates and targets, that’s a work in progress…

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