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Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has slammed the country’s bungled vaccine rollout as “a phenomenal failure”.
The rollout has led to ongoing confusion and frustration, not only among the Australian public, but also across the nation's political landscape.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday encouraged people under 40 keen for the AstraZeneca vaccine to talk to their GP. This appeared to be at odds with medical advice including that of Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, who urged under 40s in the state not to get AstraZeneca.
"I don't want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID probably wouldn't die," Dr Young told reporters on Wednesday.
There have been just 7,806,975 doses administered in the national Covid-19 vaccination rollout up to Wednesday, including 161,390 jabs in the previous 24 hours.
This means only 7.92 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated with both doses, while just under 30 per cent of people over the age of 16 have received a single dose.
Turnbull slams vaccine rollout ‘failure’
Mr Turnbull told ABC News on Thursday he “can't think of a bigger black and white failure of public administration than this”.
“Governments make a lot of mistakes, as we all do, of course, but this was something that was very doable,” he said.
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Currently, Darwin, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane remain under lockdown due to coronavirus outbreaks in what the former PM called “a consequence of failure the to get the vaccination done”.
“So the important thing is to go forward, but there is also no point kidding ourselves that this hasn't been a phenomenal failure in public administration,” he said.
“I don't see how else you can describe it.”
PM’s vaccine advice a ‘hand grenade’
The prime minister's snap announcement highlighting a path for any adult to receive the coronavirus vaccine opened fresh divisions with premiers and chief ministers.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said doctors, the health department and the wider medical profession were not given advance warning.
"There's a lot of confusion out there," he told Sky News on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately the prime minister's thrown a little bit of a hand grenade into our vaccine program."
The federal government has provided doctors with legal protection to vaccinate adults of all ages, sparking a rush of younger people keen to have AstraZeneca.
But the official advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has not changed.
It is not recommended for people under 60 to receive AstraZeneca because risks of extremely rare but serious blood clots outweigh benefits.
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