Vaccine delivery to Sydney and much of regional NSW will be delayed as a result of severe flooding, the Department of Health has said.
Most locations in the country will have received vaccines by the end of the weekend, except for parts of NSW affected by extreme weather.
‘Vaccine delivery is being affected in Sydney and across multiple regional NSW locations,’ the department said in a statement on Saturday.
‘The Department of Health is working directly with GPs on these issues and we ask for the public’s patience and understanding with these unforeseen supply delays.’
The wild weather across New South Wales has delayed the delivery of vaccines to Sydney and regional NSW
Most locations in the country will have received vaccines by the end of the weekend, except for parts of NSW affected by extreme weather
Separate to the severe weather, the federal government again defended ‘hiccups’ in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Saturday amid complaints of disorganisation and delays.
Federal Liberal MP Jason Falinski stood firm for the government on Saturday when Labor MP Josh Wilson alleged a failure in ‘basic administrative competence’.
Mr Wilson argued there had been plenty of time to ensure the vaccine booking system worked, that enough vaccine doses were being distributed and that people were being prompted to have the jab.
He likened it to organising a child’s birthday party.
‘You make sure the email address on the party invite actually works. You don’t invite 30 children if you can only get 10 in the pool,’ he said.
Mr Falinski rejected the analogy – saying the vaccine was being rolled out to 25 million people.
‘There will be hiccups along the way in the rollout of this vaccine,’ he told ABC News.
‘We have zero community transmission so we can get take the time to get this right.’
Separate to the severe weather, the federal government again defended ‘hiccups’ in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Saturday amid complaints of disorganisation and delays
He sung the government’s praises for ensuring the vaccine is produced domestically – unlike Canada – which remains at the whim of overseas facilities.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan also lauded that decision by the federal government, as the European Union threatened to block exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
‘We’ve been talking with the EU about this,’ he told reporters.
‘We’ve obviously got a very strong point of view as to what the EU should do.
The horrific wet weather battering NSW is expected to continue until Thursday or Friday
‘(But) the domestic supply is absolutely critical. It won’t be too long until we’re producing nearly a million doses a week.’
More than 250,000 virus jabs have been administered in Australia, a long way off the four million Prime Minister Scott Morrison said would be completed by the end of March.
Doctors say the federal government should have tempered expectations of a fast COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as they reassure patients they will get their jabs.
Mr Morrison held a round-table meeting with peak medical bodies in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the country’s biggest ever vaccination program.
The next phase of the vaccination rollout begins on Monday, and includes people aged over 70, Indigenous Australians over 55, younger adults with a medical condition or disability, and workers deemed at critical or high risk.
Incredible drone footage has captured the mid-north coast town of Port Macquarie completely submerged as flood waters create a path of destruction in the area
More rain is forecast for the NSW coast and other parts of the state, with flood warnings in place and the premier advising residents to stay home
The effort will involve more than 1,000 GP practices and 100 Commonwealth clinics.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said the government should have been clearer with the public that 6.5 million people would not be able to get their jab in the first week when the country only has 200,000 doses.
One new case of coronavirus has been recorded in Western Australia, in a returned traveller who is in hotel quarantine.
The state currently has 13 active cases, the Department of Health said on Saturday.
On Friday, 2437 people were vaccinated. To date, 30,571 West Australians have received a COVID vaccine.