Lack of firm timetable for access to Pfizer vaccine for younger Australians criticised

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham says Australians under forty will be able to access the Pfizer vaccine within months, but said he is unable to set a more precise date.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the refusal to set a clear timetable is a sign the federal government has again mishandled the vaccine rollout.

“It was another reminder of this government’s incompetence when its comes to the rolling out of the vaccine,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra, also referring to the instances of three aged care residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in Sydney.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said there will be marked step up in terms of availability of the Pfizer vaccine in the next few months, stepping up from around 300,000 doses a week now to about 600,000 doses a week, and further increases are forecast in September.

“There’s not a fixed date that I can give you now,” Senator Birmingham told ABC’s Insiders program

Mr Albanese said the inability to set a date is what happens when you think it’s not a race.

“It is a race and we have seen the consequences of it,” he said.

“The fact there is no date or no timelines on the so-called four phases that we need to go through, says it all about this government.”

As it is, Victoria is complaining that its Pfizer allocation is already dwindling as NSW gets more to battle its unfolding outbreak.

“We wish them every success, of course, but what we are concerned about is that there is a clear appetite for Victorians to get vaccinated,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters at Cobblebank on Sunday.

“Disappointingly, Victoria will have to manage down for the next few weeks.”

There were no virus cases reported in Victoria.

NSW’s 16 locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday takes the total infections since the start of the outbreak to 277. However, it follows the 35 cases reported the day before.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the dip in case numbers was a good sign, but reiterated all people in Greater Sydney and surrounds must adhere to lockdown provisions, which will remain in place until at least Friday.

Queensland recorded a single local COVID-19 case overnight as residents in Brisbane and Moreton Bay ready for their first full day without a lockdown.

The state also recorded an additional case in hotel quarantine and acquired overseas.

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