A health policy expert has taken aim at Australia’s Covid-19 rollout claiming the slow pace is “not good enough”.
Australia has reached 500,000 vaccinations but is a long way short of the four million doses the government predicted would be administered by the end of March.
Adjunct Professor Bill Bowtell, from the University of NSW, unloaded on the government's poor start to the rollout.
Speaking on Nine’s Today program over the weekend, he pointed out that Australia is lagging behind developing nations including Bangladesh and Rwanda, saying they “are ahead of us” in their respective vaccine rollouts.
Professor Bowtell said a number of regional communities, such as Port Stephens in NSW, were ready to receive 5000 doses of vaccine per week but last week only got 50.
“Now, that‘s just not good enough,” he said.
“The doctors, the GPs, the pharmacies, all ready to go, but they are being let down by a failure to commit to targets, to plan and to deliver.”
He added "we need to ask some very serious questions".
Morrison: 'This is really gearing up'
In total, the US has already administered 140 million doses of vaccine as the country administers millions of jabs per day. All US citizens will be eligible to get vaccinated by May 1, US president Joe Biden recently announced.
Despite the slow start in Australia, the government is optimistic about the rollout from next month with the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by CSL in Melbourne set to ramp up.
“This is really gearing up," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reports on Saturday.
“The last delivery that was unable to be made because of the floods up in Taree, that was able to get through yesterday,” he said.
The first of 50 million Australian-made AstraZeneca doses have been distributed with much more on the way, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.
He said the decision to produce the vaccine at CSL has ensured Australia is one of the few countries with "strong, clear" domestic supplies going forward.
More than 507,000 Australians had been vaccinated as of Saturday - 329,000 vaccines administered in state and territory clinics, 97,000 in general practices and more than 80,000 in aged care homes.
"Our GP's have played a vital role in this expansion and have not only been vaccinating over the week, but many practices are continuing to vaccinate on Saturday and Sunday this weekend," Mr Hunt said in a statement.
Australia's overseas vaccine supply was hit by Europe's decision to block some shipments of the AstraZeneca jab.
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