The Prime Minister is standing behind his decision not to set a new vaccination target, despite desperate pleas from the struggling tourism industry.
Up until recently, operators were planning for the potential return of international visitors later this year, once Australians had been largely vaccinated by October.
That deadline, initially set by the federal government, has since been scrapped due to new advice over the AstraZeneca vaccine.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
It’s not only seen our vaccine rollout plan to have every Aussie receive at least their first dose by October thrown out, but the government now says it won’t be establishing a new timeline.
In a video posted to social media last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the job will get done eventually.
“One of the things about Covid is that it writes its own rules, you don’t get to set the agenda, you have to be able to respond quickly to when things change.
“And it’s certainly the case over the course of this past year, that we’ve had to deal with a lot of changes,” he said.
The Prime Minister referenced the speed at which other countries such as the US and the UK are rolling out their vaccines but concedes Australia does not have that same opportunity.
“In those countries, the vaccination rate is urgent to prevent death, and as a result, I can understand the programs that they’re running,” Mr Morrison said.
“Equally, they have access to vaccine dose that we do not have access to here in Australia. That enables them to do the large mass scale rollouts that you’re seeing in those countries.
“In most other countries that isn’t the opportunity, including here in Australia.”
The lack of certainty around the rollout has meant more concerns for the already struggling tourism industry, which has been without international tourists for over a year now.
There are now fears that it could be several years before international travel returns to any kind of normal.
The Prime Minister, in his social media video, admits there are no plans to open the borders anytime soon.
“It’s not safe right now to open up our international borders. Around the world, Covid-19 is still rife.
“We’re still seeing increases in daily cases – particularly in the developing world,” Mr Scott Morrison said.
The NSW Premier became the latest to seemingly question the federal government’s rollout delay, fearing Australia could be left behind on global economic recovery efforts.
Gladys Berejiklian maintains that NSW is trying to roll out their doses as quickly as possible, but the supply coming from the federal government is still ‘lumpy’.
“I know that some people don’t think there is a sense of urgency because we’re doing so well, but things can change very quickly and I don’t want to see our citizens left behind because the rest of the world starts trading with each other, starts travelling … I do have a sense of urgency about it,” she told reporters yesterday.