Feds lash Qld vaccine rollout as 40,000 doses sit spare
Queensland has used just 60 per cent of its stock of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 40,000 doses sitting spare, amid mounting concerns over the pace of the rollout.
It comes as frontline health workers will be banned from treating COVID-19 patients unless they are vaccinated following a stinging attack from the Federal Government over the pace of Queensland's jab rollout.
New vaccine rollout data obtained by The Courier-Mail shows Queensland has received 106,970 doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to date.
Just 65,129 of those doses, or 60 per cent, have been administered, leaving a balance of 41,841 doses.
But the data also reveals every state in Australia has struggled to get barely half of the COVID-19 vaccines they have been given by the federal government into the arms of the most vulnerable and at risk people, with Queensland having one of the highest rates of administration of available doses.
NSW has administered only about 50 per cent of the 190,610 doses it has received, while Victoria has delivered only about 44 per cent of its jabs.
Western Australia has topped the country with 62 per cent, South Australia has done 35 per cent, Tasmania achieved 59 per cent, the ACT completed 57 per cent and the Northern Territory has done 53 per cent.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has also revealed 14,040 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were to be delivered to Queensland on Tuesday, and another 51,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered today as part of a 12-week vaccine plan provided to the state.
"Vaccines have been delivered in accordance with this plan," he said.
"The plan further articulates the Australian government has held contingency for second doses and that these second doses will be provided to ensure that all second dose vaccinations can occur at the right interval.
"This minimises any supply shocks and means that every vaccine a state has can be administered."
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath, who revealed Queensland had administered 65,129 vaccinations, including a record 6004 on Monday, defended the state's stockpiling of doses.
"We had to wait for consistency of supply … we also had to keep some in reserve for the second vaccination," she said.
"The majority of all of our 1As had Pfizer. We have to hold back enough Pfizer to give them their second vaccination because we can't be sure, and even the Commonwealth can't be sure, when that Pfizer delivery is going to come to Australia."
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young on Tuesday ordered hospitals to ensure only workers who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are in contact with potentially infectious patients.
Her order, thought to be the nation's first, comes amid mounting concern over the pace of the vaccine rollout after two health workers at the Princess Alexandra Hospital contracted the highly-contagious UK strain of COVID-19.
A nurse and a doctor from the hospital are each at the centre of the two latest clusters which have plunged millions of Greater Brisbane residents into a three-day lockdown.
When asked why the new mandate for health workers had not been in place since the start of the jab rollout, Dr Young said there were not enough vaccinations.
"We had to roll the vaccine out," she said.
"It's just so unfortunate that this outbreak has occurred when it did."
From Wednesday, only people who have had their first dose of the vaccine - Pfizer or AstraZeneca - can work directly with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
About 41,000 frontline health, quarantine and border workers have been vaccinated as of Tuesday morning - about 89 per cent.
"We did set ourselves that target for between four and six weeks to get all of 1A workers vaccinated," Dr Young said.
"We've reached that, we believe we'll finish that (today)."
Ms D'Ath reiterated that Queensland Health had only recently reached the "critical mass" point to permit only vaccinated staff to treat infectious patients.
"To say we could have done that one or two weeks ago would have meant we were putting our staff at risk," she said.
"If we are having less staff available to manage COVID patients than what is safe then that puts everyone at risk."
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the vaccine rollout was a complex process that had been affected by supply uncertainty.
"You're taking people off shifts to go and get the vaccine, you need to have the supply there," she said.
"We're rolling this out as quickly and safely as possible."
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said the Commonwealth had "been very clear" the federal government had in its possession enough doses of the vaccine available for people to receive their second jab. He said the Commonwealth, which is responsible for distribution and supply of the vaccine to jurisdictions, said there is a second dose waiting in contingency for every dose administered.
"There is no need for a state or territory to be keeping any vaccine aside for this purpose," he said.
Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates described Dr Young's decision as a "sensible" one which should have been made earlier.
"Maybe if these staff had been vaccinated and not been treating COVID positive cases then we may not be in a lockdown right now," she said.
Australian Medical Association of Queensland President Chris Perry called for the State Government to use "every tool available" to stop the spread.
"We are pleased that only vaccinated health workers will be allowed to treat COVID cases but they are still at risk until Queensland Health ensures all frontline health workers are (mask) fit-tested," he said.
GOING THROUGH THE PHASES
WHEN: In progress
WHAT: Pfizer, and later AstraZeneca
WHERE: Pfizer "hubs" at Gold Coast University Hospital, Cairns Hospital, Townsville University Hospital, Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital
● Quarantine and border workers
● Frontline health care workers most exposed to the virus (ICU, emergency department)
● Aged care and disability care staff plus aged care and disability care residents.
● Prime Minister Scott Morrison
WHEN: Started Mar 22
WHAT: Mostly AstraZeneca and some Pfizer
WHERE: GPs and state-run clinics, later pharmacies
● Elderly adults aged over 70
● Remaining health care workers
● Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55
● Younger adults with underlying medical condition, including a disability
● Critical and high risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing
WHAT: Mostly AstraZeneca with some Pfizer
● Adults aged over 50.
● Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 55
● Other critical and high risk workers
WHEN: Before Nov
WHAT: Mostly AstraZeneca, some Pfizer, possibly Novavax
WHO: Everyone over 16
Originally published as Feds lash Qld vaccine rollout as 40,000 doses sit spare