COVID warning: Urgency needed after ‘serious errors’
Australia's 'shaky' vaccination rollout must be improved before deadly variants of COVID-19 get the chance to run rampant through the community, a university expert has warned.
A double dose administered in a Queensland nursing home, disinformation from Craig Kelly and calls from government Senator Matthew Canavan to pause the AstraZeneca vaccinations had contributed to uncertainty surrounding the rollout, Griffith University policy director Susan Harris-Rimmer declared.
Professor Harris-Rimmer said the nation risked stumbling at the final hurdle of its world-leading COVID-19 response.
"We bought ourselves all this time which was an amazing feat and buying that time should have meant we were focused on getting this ready," she said.
"The variants are going to catch up to us - we've heard the Premier and chief health officer say they're worried about the UK and South Africa variants - there is some time urgency and that time is now running out."
Professor Harris-Rimmer said the Commonwealth and state have dropped the ball after having months to watch and learn from comparable countries about the rollout.
"There should have been ample time to prepare and hit the February and March target to build confidence in the scheme and yet the first month saw some serious errors," she said
"This is the best opportunity the Commonwealth has had in a generation to show its value."
However, public sparring between the state and the federal governments about the progress of the rollout was welcomed by Professor Harris-Rimmer, who argued it was beneficial so long as patient care was not at risk.
"It's okay for there to be public tension because I think it's actually pretty healthy," she said.
"It increases the transparency of what's happening."
The university expert said the government should focus on "clear, credible information about vaccine safety and hit the targets for March" to build confidence from states and the public.
Originally published as COVID warning: Urgency needed after 'serious errors'