Angry state premiers have blasted the Morrison government for pumping more coronavirus vaccines into NSW than other states.
Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia received less than their population’s share of Pfizer while the allocation for NSW increased last month.
The ABC published data showing NSW was being sent 45 per cent of the Pfizer doses being distributed despite having about 32 per cent of Australia’s population.
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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said his state missed out on 340,000 doses and demanded “unfair” and “under the table” arrangements stop.
“I did not sign up to a national plan to vaccinate Sydney,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
In a swipe at the prime minister, he said some people did not see the vaccine rollout as a race.
“But a race it surely is,” Mr Andrews said.
“What I didn’t know was that (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s in a sprint while the rest of us are supposed to do some sort of egg-and-spoon thing.”
The Victorian premier said doses needed to be made up urgently.
Scott Morrison said extra vaccines sent to NSW were largely from an allocation of one million from a deal with Poland.
The prime minister said he had rejected calls for NSW to receive extra doses from other states’ allocations earlier in the year.
“I’ll tell you who said no to that, it was me. It wasn’t the states and territories,” he told Sky News.
Mr Morrison argued Tasmania and the ACT achieved high vaccination rates without being allocated extra doses during outbreaks like Victoria and Queensland.
He said he didn’t share the Victorian premier’s view the rollout was unfair but did not dispute the dose figures.
WA Premier Mark McGowan also called for states that gave up doses for NSW to be repaid.
“We can’t have a situation where some states are punished for doing the right thing for New South Wales,” he told reporters in Perth.
Mr McGowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said federal criticism of their states’ rollout was unfair.
“We understand that when a state is going through a particular troublesome time, that yes more vaccines should be allocated,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“But don’t go then and blame Queensland and Western Australia for getting out the vaccine that we have available.”
NSW reported another 1220 local infections and eight deaths as authorities brace for a peak in numbers next week.
Victoria recorded 246 cases for a second consecutive day, equalling the highest increase of the outbreak.
There were 19 new cases in Canberra.
Mr Morrison also shrugged off criticism that he exercised appalling judgment when travelling between Canberra and Sydney for Father’s Day with both places in lockdown.
The prime minister, who had an essential work exemption, accused former Labor leader Bill Shorten of a cheap shot.
“In politics, people like to take a lot of swings at you and you get pretty used to it, but sometimes those jabs can be low blows.”
© AAP 2021