In a bizarre move Dan Andrews has cast doubts on whether millions of Pfizer jab will really be available to all Australians aged 16-39 after the federal government’s promise.
Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that Australians in that age group will be able to get the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine around the country from August 30.
The Prime Minister said there are 8.6million Australians in this demographic and they will be able to book an appointment at some point in the next week.
When asked at Fridays Victoria update whether the announcement would cause people to cancel their AstraZeneca bookings, Mr Andrews said he doubted the Pfizer jabs were even available.
‘I wouldn’t be banking on anything being here in two weeks. I haven’t seen that stock. Is it even here? I hope that by the end of the month 16-39 -year-olds can get Pfizer. I don’t know if they will be able to,’ Mr Andrews said.
Young Australians wait in line for a Pfizer jab at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney on Thursday
A young woman waits for a Pfizer vaccine at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney on Thursday
Scott Morrison also implored Australians to get the AstraZeneca jab if they had already book in for one.
‘The best vaccine you can get is the one that is available right now,’ he said.
‘If you are in Sydney get vaccinated today. Go out and do that right now. That is my clear advice.
‘And that is what we want Australians to do.’
Australia’s top scientists have advised Australians over 18 in places with Covid-19 outbreaks to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, which carries an extremely low risk of blood clotting as a side effect.
Tens of thousands have taken up the offer but many have decided to wait for Pfizer, which is not as strongly linked to blood clots in young people.
Mr Morrison said young Australians would be able to book their Pfizer appointments at some point in the next week.
‘I want to stress, do not make a booking yet. We will advise when bookings can be made,’ he said.
But amid fears the surprise announcement will prompt young people to cancel their AstraZeneca bookings, Mr Morrison implored Australians not to wait for the Pfizer vaccine
‘It isn’t today. Not today. We will advise when the time will come over the course of the next week.’
Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory are already offering Pfizer to people under 40 in their state-run clinics.
The expansion announced today means Pfizer will be available for young people in GPs which are regulated by the Commonwealth.
Over the last 24 hours, 309,010 Australians stepped forward to be vaccinated. As of Thursday 28.2 per cent of Australians over 16 have been fully jabbed.
Half of the nation has received at least one dose, which Mr Morrison described as a major milestone.
Police and ADF personnel are seen together next to a patrol car in the Bankstown LGA in Sydney’s south-west on Thursday
There were 681 Covid-19 cases reported in NSW on Thursday, while another 57 people in Melbourne contracted the disease.
A man in his 80s died in a Sydney hospital, taking the national toll to 971.
Canberra recorded 16 new cases taking the ACT cluster to 83.
The daily national case figure is higher than the mark of 698 set during the Victorian second wave last year.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said every state would need to confront living with the virus when double-dose vaccination coverage reaches 80 per cent.
She expects that benchmark will be reached in about three months.
‘By mid-November the conversation has to be around not so much the number of cases we have, but how many people we are keeping out of hospital,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Residents arrive at a mass vaccination centre to get their Covid-19 vaccine in Sydney on Thursday
A three-day lockdown in Darwin and Katherine ended at midday after no new cases were linked to an infected US defence contractor.
Queensland, which also recorded a zero-case day, will station troops at the NSW border after the federal government agreed to the request.
Burnet Institute director Brendan Crabb said modelling showed daily cases could jump to between 3,000 and 4,000 within 30 days unless urgent steps were taken in NSW.
‘We’re in a steam train that is heading towards a cliff, not heading towards a station which is where we should be going,’ he told the Nine Network.
Professor Crabb is urging the NSW government to implement uniform restrictions across all areas of Sydney including a curfew and five-kilometre travel limits.
Police and ADF personnel are pictured patrolling the Bankstown LGA in Sydney’s south-west on Thursday. A man in his 80s has died from Covid-19 in Sydney as NSW’s Delta outbreak grew by a record 681 cases on Thursday
He believes immediate action coupled with more generous support for workers and business could turn the situation around.
‘The worse-case scenario is we have an Italy-style health catastrophe. That is actually the trajectory at the moment,’ Professor Crabb said.
He said the best outcome was lockdown until Christmas but that would rely on keeping case increases stable rather than the current rate of doubling every 11 days.
Federal, state and territory governments support vaccine coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent to reduce the likelihood of lockdowns and reopen Australia.
What are the four phases of opening up?
A. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot (from July 14)
Arrival caps cut in half to 3,035 a week; early, stringent and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available on apps like apple wallet
B. Post vaccination phase (when 70 per cent are jabbed, expected late this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible; vaccinated people face reduced restrictions; caps for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger cap for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; capped entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation phase (when 80 per cent are jabbed, time not announced)
Lifting all restrictions for outbound travel for vaccinated travellers; no caps for vaccinated arrivals; increased caps for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles being set up with countries such as Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not announced)
Uncapped arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and uncapped arrivals for unvaccinated people with testing before departure and on arrival