Queensland defends slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Defending the pace of the vaccinations, which Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had warned would be “very slow”, Queensland Health said the rollout was “not a race”.

“Queensland is used to being picked on by others,” an official tweet from the Health Department read.

“We saw this many times last year, even though our response remains one of the best in the world. Our response is safe, measured and sensible.

“That’s what Queenslanders expect. Our vaccine rollout approach is no different. This is not a race.”

State health officials aimed to vaccinate 1000 people in week one and 3000 in week two, and Ms Palaszczuk said she was “very happy with the rollout, we are reaching our targets”.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said almost 60,000 more doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines would land in Queensland in the next 10 days.

Two coronavirus vaccines were approved for use in Australia: the Pfizer vaccine, which was being administered to priority groups, and the AstraZeneca vaccine, expected to be used for most of the population.

NSW would administer its first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 10 while Queensland had not named the date it would deliver the second vaccine.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Queensland would get the vaccine out “as quickly as possible” but could not guarantee timelines as they depended on the supply secured by the Commonwealth.

“While we do receive some information from the Commonwealth about what to anticipate, we can not action the arrival of those vaccines until they are here, until we know that we are getting them.

“It’s incredibly important that we get this right and, as I say, the number that we do [vaccinate] in the first or second week isn’t what’s important, it’s how quickly we can get it out and how confident our community is in getting it.”

– with Mary Ward

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