Aged care sector delays and supply chain “teething problems” have set back the first week of the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the Northern Territory.
- Expected shipment of vaccines never arrived
- 581 people vaccinated in the NT so far
- Delays in delivering doses to aged care sector
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles told ABC Radio Darwin this morning that an expected shipment of COVID-19 vaccines did not arrive yesterday, so the Northern Territory ran out of doses earlier than expected.
“We were expecting a small supply that didn’t come through so we’ve raised that with the Commonwealth government about that supply issue,” she said.
Ms Fyles said she did not know why the expected vaccine shipment had not arrived but that there had been several “teething problems” around Australia during the first week of vaccinations.
“The officials are looking into it but we are expecting 400 more doses today.
“We will continue vaccinations this evening and tomorrow.”
Ms Fyles said 581 coronavirus vaccines had been delivered to Territorians as of close of business yesterday.
The NT Government initially projected that 800 NT Health staff would be vaccinated in the first week.
Delays have also been seen in the rollout of the vaccine in the aged care sector, a program managed by the federal government.
Northern Territory Professional Health Network chief executive Gill Yearsley said the delays were due to the “logistically challenging and complex” nature of the delivery plan.
“In the Northern Territory we have experienced some delays in the rollout this week which means some residents have not received their vaccines when initially planned,” he said.
“The delays are being managed and contingencies put in place to ensure residents do receive their vaccinations in the next few days.”
Despite the missing doses and supply chain issues, Ms Fyles said the vaccination program in the Territory was working well.
“To get over 500 people vaccinated in the first four days and to not be lagging behind the rest of Australia, our health professionals have done a great job,” she said.
Ms Fyles said the territory and federal governments were working on getting the appropriate freezers to the territory, which would allow the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to be stored locally and remedy some of the supply issues.
“They are still some weeks away. I hope we’ll see them by the end of March or early April,” she said.
Ms Fyles said the NT government was hoping to have all Territorians vaccinated by the end of October.
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