Qld govt abandons AZ for Pfizer, Moderna

·3-min read

The Queensland government will put off a mass vaccination hub until the last quarter of the year because it is no longer administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The state government is administering the Pfizer vaccine to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable people, but has stopped administering the AstraZeneca jab.

That decision follows official health advice that Australians under the age of 50 should get the Pfizer vaccine over the AstraZeneca jab.

AstraZeneca doses are instead sent directly to Queensland GPs, and the state has ruled out using them in a mass vaccination hub like those operating in NSW and Victoria.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state is too "decentralised" to set up an AstraZeneca hub, but she's planning Pfizer and Moderna hubs later this year.

"Queensland is a big state, it is so decentralised, that so much planning is happening at the moment for that final quarter of the year, when we have more supply in Pfizer, Moderna it is going to ramp up," Ms Palaszczuk said on Thursday.

"And I know that Queenslanders are going to go out there in droves when we have all that supply ready."

It's unclear what impact the state government's decision to abandon AstraZeneca has had on the pace of the rollout.

Queensland receives 180,000 vaccine doses per week, but less than 3000 are being administered per day, according to the federal Department of Health.

By comparison, NSW administers 11,000 doses per day and Victoria is giving about 9000 jabs a day.

Both of those states operate mass vaccination hubs in Sydney and Melbourne using AstraZeneca.

Queensland Health says it has administered approximately 178,000 doses of vaccine so far and "if you look at percentage of vaccinations by state compared to population percentage, Queensland is comparable to other states".

The federal government has pledged to provide 50 per cent of the funding for mass vaccination sites in states and territories, but Queensland is holding off until supplies of Pfizer and Moderna arrive.

Ms Palaszczuk's comments come as the Therapeutic Goods Administration linked a Queensland case of blood clots to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The 18-year-old nurse received the jab before health advice was issued regarding the vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

"The information reported to the TGA meets the criteria for confirmed TTS," the TGA said in a statement on Thursday.

"However, the case remains under investigation as there are ongoing clinical investigations including consideration of other medical conditions."

The TGA said 24 cases of TTS have been reported in Australia from 2.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca delivered.

Earlier on Thursday, Ms Palaszczuk said Prime Minister Scott Morrison hadn't been properly briefed about Queensland's quarantine camp proposal by his own department.

The Wagner Corporation wants to build a COVID-19 quarantine facility that would host up to 1000 travellers and 300 staff at Wellcamp near Toowoomba.

The federal government has repeatedly said the plan lacks crucial detail such who will run the health operations and how much it would cost.

Annastacia Palaszczuk won't put a price tag on the facility but insists the prime minister has all the information required.

"The prime minister should be getting thorough briefings from his department, and working respectfully with each and every leader, about these crucial issues that will keep Australians safe," she told reporters.

Queensland is also offering a $1500 cash incentive to encourage more people to move to the state to work in the tourism industry.

Just two months ago, the state was begging the federal government to extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy for tourism operators, but demand is now so high the sector is facing staff shortages.

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