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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has taken a jab at other states for offering Pfizer to anyone over 60 when children are yet to get vaccinated.
The Queensland government announced on Wednesday that state hubs will start offering Pfizer to people 60 and over in a bid to boost low vaccination rates amid the ongoing risk from the NSW Delta outbreak.
It comes after GPs expressed frustration at people between 60-69 holding out to get Pfizer over Vaxzevria, previously known as AstraZeneca, because of the extremely small risk of blood clots.
Until now, that age group have only been offered Vaxzevria.
"They said to me loud and clear they want to have a choice of vaccines, well I say let's give it to them," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
It follows similar moves in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory to expand the Pfizer rollout to this age bracket as supplies from the Commonwealth ramp up.
But Mr Andrews has refused to do the same while children, who have just recently become eligible for the jab, can only access Pfizer.
"I'm not going to take the only vaccine available for 12, 13, 14, 15-year-olds and give it to 60-year-olds, when 60-year-olds have got AstraZeneca they can access," he said.
Australians aged 12 to 15 were only given the green light to book in for a Pfizer vaccine this week.
‘Boomer entitlement’: Doctor hits out
ABC presenter Dr Norman Swan has slammed the expansion of the Pfizer rollout as “boomer entitlement”.
“If they've got Pfizer doses to waste on over 60s when 12-year-olds need to be immunised, 12-year-olds should be in front of any 60-year-old who isn't otherwise contraindicated to get AstraZeneca. Because they deserve the Pfizer more than over 60s,” he told the ABC’s Radio National program on Wednesday.
He accused the other states of having secret stocks of Pfizer if they can afford to offer the vaccine to over 60s.
“Over 60s can get Astra and Astra safely, and protect themselves against severe disease. Pfizer should be reserved for the under 60s and now the 12 to 15-year-olds.”
States contradict previous advice
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote a letter to Australians over 60, urging them to get AstraZeneca as soon as possible.
The letter, co-signed by health minister Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, was sent out last week to hundreds of thousands of Australians between 60-69 who are unvaccinated.
"The expert health advice is very clear, people over 60 have a greatly increased risk of getting severe disease with COVID-19 and must be vaccinated as soon as possible," the letter reads.
"The recent outbreaks of the new, more infectious strains of the COVID-19 virus, with some tragic deaths in Sydney, make it even more important that Australians over 60 get vaccinated now."
The Australian Medical Association also said Pfizer needed to be prioritised for younger age groups.
“The simple message for everyone over 60 is just to go and get vaccinated...The AZ vaccine is extremely safe. It is extremely effective, and it may end up being the better of the two vaccines in terms of protecting you from COVID in the long term," Dr Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association said.
Over 60s lash out on social media
Twitter has been flooded with angry comments from people over 60 calling on Daniel Andrews to follow the lead of other states.
“Please note Daniel Andrews — plenty of over 60's in VIC who are waiting for Pfizer,” posted one person.
“All lives matter, not just people under 60,” another said.
One person warned: “The over 60 years population will remember your choice to give us no choice - the Pfizer vaccine not being available to us, those over 60 years.”
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