Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed criticisms from the leader of the opposition that he has “dropped the ball” on securing a CCP virus vaccine causing Australia to lag behind the rest of the world in administering vaccinations.
Morrison said that Australia was “still on track” for a vaccine to be rolled out in March, and brushed off the criticism as an attempt to “stir up political issues.”
National Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese wrote on Twitter on Monday: “A timely vaccine is crucial in helping us get back to COVID normal. Frankly, the Morrison Government has dropped the ball.”
“Even if the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are approved this month, the government has said Australians won’t get access to them until March. That’s clearly not good enough,” he wrote.
This comes as counties like the United States and the UK roll-out emergency vaccinations against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the novel coronavirus which emerged from Wuhan, China a year ago.
Albanese said this is because Australia did not secure a deal for access to the vaccine until September, whereas other countries secured deals in March and April.
Albanese was echoed by Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who wrote on Twitter that the government was “tardy,” saying that by March “over 100 million Americans will likely have been vaccinated.”
The official Labor Party Twitter account retweeted Leigh’s comment, adding: “Late on vaccines. No National Quarantine. A Covidsafe app that doesn’t work. Can Scott Morrison do his job?”
Late on vaccines. No National Quarantine. A Covidsafe app that doesn’t work.
Can Scott Morrison do his job? https://t.co/efESTYS9ir
— Australian Labor (@AustralianLabor) January 4, 2021
Responding to the criticism on 2GB radio on Tuesday, Morrison said Albanese had “quite an uninformed view.”
Morrison said Australia doesn’t need an emergency roll-out of the CCP virus vaccine because it does not face the same “mind-blowing” cases like other countries.
“We got to get it safe and we got to get it right,” Morrison said. “We’re not in the situation like the UK is. They had 58,000 cases yesterday.”
He added: “That is just mind-blowing.”
Morrison also added that other countries like Israel—which he said are in a “catastrophic” state—and the United States need to do emergency vaccinations.
But this is not the case for Australia, he said. “So we can’t cut corners on the vaccine. It has to be rolled out properly, in an orderly way, and that’s what we’re working hard to achieve.”
When asked whether the government is keeping Albanese updated with all the new developments, Morrison also said Labor was offered a briefing in December but didn’t take it up, adding that the last time Labor’s shadow health minister was briefed was in November.
“I talk to the chief medical officer every day,” Morrison said, adding that Albanese hasn’t.
“What’s informing his views is only for him to explain because he certainly hasn’t been sitting down with our officials,” Morrison said.
Morrison said Australia has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates because people have confidence in the system. “I’m not going to short cut that system. And if people want to focus on trying to stir up political issues, well, that says more about them than me,” he said.
Once the Therapeutic Goods Administration approves the vaccine, there will be another round of rigorous testing done on each batch sent across the country.