Queensland is defending its decision to withhold vaccines to ensure healthcare workers receive their second dose, claiming there has been no certainty of supply from the commonwealth.
The state is trying to manage two separate clusters, both linked to healthcare workers at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital which has now been locked down.
“We have not had certainty of supply to our hospitals through the vaccine rollout … that has required the holding back of enough doses to ensure that we can administer the second dose,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Wednesday.
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Commitments have now been made for supply of the Pfizer vaccine, and Mr Miles said he wanted to see the same for AstraZeneca.
“That will allow our hospitals to use a greater percentage of the stock on hand,” he said.
He said criticism from the federal government was an attempt to deflect from its own failings, claiming it was millions of people short of its vaccination goal for the end of March.
“God knows they’ve got a lot to deflect from right now, not least of which, their vaccine rollout,” he said.
Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said squabbling between state and federal governments “did absolutely no good” for people wanting to get back to a sense of normality.
“There’s not a single person who cares who’s responsible for administering the needle, they just want to know the vaccination process can happen as quickly as possible,” he said on Wednesday.
“The bickering, the in-fighting, the buck passing, that does no one any good.”
He said both levels of government were “far too tardy” with the vaccine rollout.
Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud labelled the withholding of vaccines to give people second doses as irresponsible.
He said the state could have asked the federal government to support the rollout at any point.
“This isn’t about blame, this is about stepping up and owning your mistakes, and owning what you haven’t done,” Mr Littleproud told Nine’s Today program on Wednesday.
“Now if the federal government hasn’t done their job, we deserve an uppercut. But let me say the states have been sitting on their hands. They’ve been too complacent.”
Mr Miles said the the comments were offensive.
“The states are doing what they can with what has been distributed to them,” he said.
© AAP 2021