Australia plans to phase out ‘problematic and unnecessary’ plastic products by 2025

Australia plans to phase out ‘problematic and unnecessary’ plastic products by 2025



Australia’s environment ministers are planning to phase out a range of “problematic and unnecessary” plastic products over the next four years.

Lightweight plastic bags, straws, utensils and stirrers are among the list of products the ministers want to eliminate by 2025.

The hit list was created to provide greater certainty for industry, as the states have been chasing differing bans on plastic items.

South Australia’s Liberal government has been ahead of the curve, with single-use plastics banned in the state since March.

Victoria and Western Australia already plan to phase out and ban a raft of plastic items by 2023.

Queensland and the ACT have also passed laws to ban single-use plastics including straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates and bowls.

As a result of the meeting, Tasmania and the Northern Territory now have commitments to see single-use plastics phased out by 2025.

Among the products to be eliminated are lightweight plastic bags, plastic bags misleadingly termed as degradable, and plastic straws, utensils and stirrers.

Expanded polystyrene food containers like cups and takeaway boxes, expanded polystyrene packaging, and microbeads in personal care products will also be eliminated.

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Assembly elections | BJP will win 26 of 30 seats in Bengal, 37 of 47 seats in Assam in Phase 1 polling: Amit Shah


Amit Shah said the peaceful polling and the high voter turnouts are positive signs for the two States and thanked the voters.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed on March 28 that BJP would win more than 26 seats in the first phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal. He said women from West Bengal have voted for the party in large numbers.

Polling for 30 Assembly seats took place in West Bengal on March 27.

Mr. Shah also claimed that BJP will win more than 37 out of 47 Assembly seats in Assam that went to the polls on March 27.

“First phase of polls in two States concluded yesterday. I want to thank people in both the States that they voted in favour of BJP in huge numbers. 84% polling in West Bengal and 79% polling in Assam shows the huge enthusiasm of voters. The two States were earlier known for poll violence but polling was peaceful this time. No one was killed,” Mr. Shah said at a press conference held at his residence in Delhi on March 28.

Also read: Assembly Elections | West Bengal, Assam record high turnout in first phase of polls

“We will win more than 26 seats out of 30 seats polled yesterday in West Bengal, vote share will also increase. In Assam also we will win more than 37 seats. The voting pattern reflects that people want a protest-free Assam, development-prone Assam. Assam has realised the importance of double engine government,” he said.

He said West Bengal has been afflicted with appeasement politics and unfettered illegal migration. “The funds for development work was usurped by political parties, the kind of mismanagement during COVID-19 and Amphan was seen… After 27-year communist rule, it was felt that some transformation will come, however nothing changed under Didi [West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee]. Bengal can develop, without appeasement a government can run, all can get religious freedom,” he said.

Also read | Amphan impact, hungry tides loom over Bengal’s remote Ghoramara island

Mr. Shah said that before the polls, there was fear among BJP workers that polling will be disrupted and they will be attacked but the Election Commission of India (ECI) ensured peaceful elections.

“First time that an election has been conducted without death, bomb or bullet being fired. Women in Bengal have voted in large numbers for BJP. We will cross more than 200 seats. In Assam also we will on more seats than we have now,” he said.

Also read | Assam poll official dies on duty

He said no polling agent of Trinamool Congress had complained of mismanagement at polling booths.

When asked about the high-voltage contest at Nandigram between Ms. Banerjee and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari, Mr. Shah said, “Nothing special about Nandigram, it is just a seat for us, but if Nandigram does it then transformation will come. The maa maati maanush (TMC slogan) promises have been proved hollow,” he said.

“Not everything is to be made public,” Mr. Shah said when asked about his meeting with Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sharad Pawar on March 27 in Ahmedabad. The meeting was held at the residence of industrialist Gautam Adani.

He dismissed questions about Ms. Banerjee’s statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned for Bengal elections during his official trip in Bangladesh. “Did PM talk about corruption in Bangladesh yesterday, why are you asking what Mamata Banerjee is saying?” Mr. Shah remarked.

Mr. Shah said that the media should raise how the phones of two BJP leaders were tapped in West Bengal and their conversations leaked.

“Till yesterday, Chatradhar Mahato was free, elections concluded yesterday,” he said when asked about the timing of TMC leader Mahato’s arrest by National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday.

He said the Kerala Government’s move to register a case against Enforcement Directorate officials was a “face saving exercise” as the Principal Secretary of the State government had been arrested in a gold smuggling case.

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Assembly elections | BJP will win 26 of 30 seats in Bengal, 37 of 47 seats in Assam in Phase 1 polling: Amit Shah


Amit Shah said the peaceful polling and the high voter turnouts are positive signs for the two States and thanked the voters.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed on March 28 that BJP would win more than 26 seats in the first phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal. He said women from West Bengal have voted for the party in large numbers.

Polling for 30 Assembly seats took place in West Bengal on March 27.

Mr. Shah also claimed that BJP will win more than 37 out of 47 Assembly seats in Assam that went to the polls on March 27.

“First phase of polls in two States concluded yesterday. I want to thank people in both the States that they voted in favour of BJP in huge numbers. 84% polling in West Bengal and 79% polling in Assam shows the huge enthusiasm of voters. The two States were earlier known for poll violence but polling was peaceful this time. No one was killed,” Mr. Shah said at a press conference held at his residence in Delhi on March 28.

Also read: Assembly Elections | West Bengal, Assam record high turnout in first phase of polls

“We will win more than 26 seats out of 30 seats polled yesterday in West Bengal, vote share will also increase. In Assam also we will win more than 37 seats. The voting pattern reflects that people want a protest-free Assam, development-prone Assam. Assam has realised the importance of double engine government,” he said.

He said West Bengal has been afflicted with appeasement politics and unfettered illegal migration. “The funds for development work was usurped by political parties, the kind of mismanagement during COVID-19 and Amphan was seen… After 27-year communist rule, it was felt that some transformation will come, however nothing changed under Didi [West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee]. Bengal can develop, without appeasement a government can run, all can get religious freedom,” he said.

Also read | Amphan impact, hungry tides loom over Bengal’s remote Ghoramara island

Mr. Shah said that before the polls, there was fear among BJP workers that polling will be disrupted and they will be attacked but the Election Commission of India (ECI) ensured peaceful elections.

“First time that an election has been conducted without death, bomb or bullet being fired. Women in Bengal have voted in large numbers for BJP. We will cross more than 200 seats. In Assam also we will on more seats than we have now,” he said.

Also read | Assam poll official dies on duty

He said no polling agent of Trinamool Congress had complained of mismanagement at polling booths.

When asked about the high-voltage contest at Nandigram between Ms. Banerjee and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari, Mr. Shah said, “Nothing special about Nandigram, it is just a seat for us, but if Nandigram does it then transformation will come. The maa maati maanush (TMC slogan) promises have been proved hollow,” he said.

“Not everything is to be made public,” Mr. Shah said when asked about his meeting with Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sharad Pawar on March 27 in Ahmedabad. The meeting was held at the residence of industrialist Gautam Adani.

He dismissed questions about Ms. Banerjee’s statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned for Bengal elections during his official trip in Bangladesh. “Did PM talk about corruption in Bangladesh yesterday, why are you asking what Mamata Banerjee is saying?” Mr. Shah remarked.

Mr. Shah said that the media should raise how the phones of two BJP leaders were tapped in West Bengal and their conversations leaked.

“Till yesterday, Chatradhar Mahato was free, elections concluded yesterday,” he said when asked about the timing of TMC leader Mahato’s arrest by National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday.

He said the Kerala Government’s move to register a case against Enforcement Directorate officials was a “face saving exercise” as the Principal Secretary of the State government had been arrested in a gold smuggling case.

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Sporadic violence marks first phase of West Bengal polls


54.90 per cent of 73.80 lakh voters exercise their franchise till 1 pm in 30 seats where polling is underway for first phase

Midnapore/Kolkata/Kanthi: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some areas that are voting in the first phase of the assembly elections in West Bengal on Saturday, even as the overall poll situation was peaceful with 36.09 per cent turnout recorded till 11 am, officials said.

Elections are being held in 30 seats, most of which are in the once-Naxal-affected Jungle Mahal region, across five districts amid tight security, they said.

 

54.90 per cent of 73.80 lakh voters exercise their franchise till 1 pm in 30 seats where polling is underway for first phase.

The elections are being held following COVID-19 guidelines in all nine seats in Purulia, four in Bankura, four in Jhargram and six in Paschim Medinipur, besides the seven seats in high-stakes Purba Medinipur.

The seats in Purba Medinipur recorded the highest turnout at 38.89 per cent, followed by Jhargram (37.07 per cent) and Bankura (36.38 per cent).

The seats in Paschim Medinipur recorded 35.50 per cent turnout, while those in Purulia saw 33.58 per cent voters exercising their franchise.

In the Kanthi Dakshin seat in Purba Medinipur, voters staged a protest outside a polling booth over EVM malfunctioning.

 

The protesters blocked a road outside the polling station at Majna, claiming that even if they voted for one party, the VVPAT slip showed another party.

A contingent of central forces was deployed to control the situation, an EC official said, adding that the VVPAT machine was replaced.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s younger brother Soumendu was attacked in Kanthi by TMC supporters, his party alleged.

His car was vandalised and his was driver injured in the attack.

In the Salboni seat of Paschim Medinipur, CPI(M) candidate Susanta Ghosh was heckled and stones were hurled at his car allegedly by TMC supporters, police said.

As soon as he reached Salboni Bazar, some TMC supporters gheraoed and heckled him, following which they also attacked his car, eyewitnesses said.

 

Police personnel posted in the area rescued and escorted him to safety.

“This is an attack on democracy. This is jungle raj going on,” said Ghosh, a former minister in the Left Front government.

Some journalists who were reporting on the attack were also manhandled and their vehicles vandalised.

An EC official said that three persons were arrested in connection with the incident and a report has been sought from the district administration.

The TMC denied any involvement.

A man, in his mid-30s, was found dead in Keshiary’s Begumpur area in the Paschim Medinipur district in the morning, police said.

He has been identified as Mangal Soren, they said, adding that his body was found outside his home.

 

The BJP claimed that Soren was their supporter and was allegedly killed by TMC “goons”, a charge rubbished by the ruling party.

However, the district administration in its report to the EC said that there was no connection of the death to the polls.

Long queues were seen outside most booths in the morning hours with people stepping out early to avoid the sweltering heat, besides the uncertainty of being able to cast their votes in case of violence later in the day.

Voters in several areas, including Bhagabanpur in Egra and Midnapore, complained of intimidation to the central forces who assured them of security and took them to the polling booth.

 

Besides, there were allegations against both BJP and TMC of trying to influence voters by providing them food packets, tea and snacks.

So far, 107 EVMs have been found to be non-functional, an EC official said.

“Forty-seven EVMs have been restored by our sector officers and the rest are being mended,” he said.

The Trinamool Congress also raised concerns over the fluctuating turnout figures on the EC’s mobile app and malfunctioning of EVMs at several booths.

Most of the voters and political party workers were seen without masks amid a resurgent coronavirus. In some booths, the voters were provided masks, while sanitizers and polythene gloves were made available at most locations.

 

More than 73 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 191 candidates in these 30 seats.

The elections, which will continue till 6 pm, are being held amid tight security with the EC deploying around 730 companies of central forces, guarding 10,288 polling booths housed in 7,061 premises, officials said.

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Marvel couldn’t wait any longer to kick off its next phase of movies and shows – NewsIn.Asia


March 26 (The Verge) – Disney is debuting Black Widow as a Disney Plus Premier Access title alongside its theatrical release this summer, sacrificing one of its biggest potential summer blockbusters to its streaming service and forgoing what would almost certainly have been hundreds of millions (or even billions) of dollars at the box office in the process.

In a vacuum, Disney could have waited to release Black Widow until theaters were back to normal in a post-pandemic world, and reaped the box office rewards. But in many ways, the company is a victim of its own success. The ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe means that each new Disney Plus show or blockbuster film relies on previous Marvel entries, and Disney just couldn’t keep delaying its next wave of superhero adventures.

By the time Black Widow hits theaters — and now, Disney Plus — on July 9th, it’ll have been over a year since its intended release date of May 1st, 2020. Some of the ripple effects of those successive delays are easy to see: each time Disney has moved Black Widow, it’s caused a cascade of delays to its other films, like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (originally meant for February 12th, 2021, now out September 3rd), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (originally planned to hit theaters on May 7th, 2021, and currently planned for March 25th, 2022), and Thor: Love and Thunder (moved from November 5th, 2021 to May 6th, 2022).

And if the Marvel Universe was just movies, those successive delays would be fine; everything stays in the intended order, and while Disney would be out of its billions of box office revenue for an extra quarter or two, it’d bounce back once those movies started hitting packed theaters again.

But the company’s recent Disney Plus ambitions further complicate things. Disney can keep delaying its movies indefinitely — as, indeed, films like No Time To Die or F9 have continued to do while waiting out the pandemic. But thanks to the tangled web of storylines crossing between those blockbuster films and the streaming shows, constantly moving back release dates for one thing — like Black Widow — can hold up the entire slate from moving forward.

The strain of scheduling is already apparent.Take WandaVision, whichkicked off the company’s Disney Plus lineup earlier this year in its original 2021 slot. (This was mainly because COVID-19-related production delays forced The Falcon and the Winter Solider from its fall 2020 slot.)

Under the original, pre-delay schedule, the surreal WandaVision would have been the second Disney Plus show (after the more traditional Falcon and the Winter Solider), and would have been followed just a few short weeks after its debut by Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness in March, which promises to pick up Wanda’s story where the show left off. Instead, fans will have to wait over a year to find out what happens next, ruining the carefully planned synergy between streaming subscriptions and box office receipts.

But unlike its films, Disney can’t afford to delay its streaming shows indefinitely. The fledgling streaming service is still extremely short on high-profile, must-watch shows — The Mandalorian being the only other non-Marvel title that fits the bill.

Shows like WandaVisionFalcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki are crucial to keeping subscribers paying for Disney Plus month after month, and Disney Plus’ continued growth in revenue is crucial to Disney’s future. As CEO Bob Chapek commented earlier this year, Disney’s “direct-to-consumer business is the company’s top priority, and our robust pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth.”

The interconnectedness that has long been one of Marvel’s biggest strengths (best exemplified by its famous post-credit scenes and its incredibly popular crossover films) is conversely one of its biggest weaknesses here. Characters introduced in Black Widow are supposed to be in the upcoming Hawkeye series, for example, which is planned for later in 2021.

If Disney delays Black Widow, it has to delay Hawkeye, lest it spoil surprises or confuse viewers. Delay Black Widow too much (as has happened multiple times already) and the company has to move all its other films — like Shang Chi; Eternals; and the Doctor StrangeThor, and Black Panther sequels. The tie-in effects then continue to cascade; delay Thor: Love and Thunder too much, and you have to delay Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which in turn delays that franchise’s holiday special for Disney Plus, and so on.

In a perfect world, Disney would want to wait for theaters to release Black Widow. But right now the company needs the long-term Disney Plus growth much more than a short-term windfall from one summer blockbuster. And to achieve that growth, it needs a steady drip of marquee content.

The move isn’t a total loss for Disney, though. Moving Black Widow helps to keep the Disney Plus machine going and keeps the theatrical schedule on track for the fall when theaters can hopefully reopen.

But the short-term loss could reap bigger gains for Disney down the line: if you want to watch Black Widow this summer, you have two options. You can go and buy expensive movie tickets in person, in which case Disney’s box office goals will be that much closer to succeeding. Or you either pony up for Disney Plus and a $30 fee on top, juicing subscriber numbers.

And who knows — while you’re there, you might stick around to watch WandaVisionFalcon and the Winter Soldier, or other Marvel films. At which point you might as well just keep your subscription active for Hawkeye or Ms. Marvel that fall.

Either way, Disney wins.



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Phase 1b vaccine rollout starts in the Northern Territory, amid concern over anti-vax messaging


Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner received the AstraZeneca vaccine this morning, as Phase 1b kicked off and his government worked to combat ‘concerning’ anti-vax messaging.

Mr Gunner said he wanted to be first up to receive AstraZeneca, to bolster public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine.

“I want to give the public every confidence in AstraZeneca, in its clinical safety,” he said.

“The vaccine is free, it is safe and it is effective.

Phase 1b also marks the start of the vaccination program for Aboriginal adults.

The Australian government changed the parameters of the Phase 1b rollout earlier this month to include more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote residents.

The changes mean that vaccination teams heading to remote Aboriginal communities can immunise all adults over the age of 18 who want the vaccine, rather than just people over 55 or those who met the previous criteria.

Other people eligible under phase 1b include people over the age of 70, adults with specified underlying medical conditions, any remaining frontline health care workers who were not a part of Phase 1a, critical and high-risk workers such as police, fire, emergency services and meat processing workers.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will now be delivered as a part of the Phase 1b rollout.(

ABC News: Michael Donnelly

)

Mr Gunner said he had become concerned over some recent messaging from online anti-vaccination groups.

“There are some Territorians out there, some Australians out there, who have had a history of being vaccinated and want to be sure that this vaccination is safe,” he said.

“We can trust our doctors, we can trust the research they do, we can trust their clinical advice.

Mr Gunner acknowledged there were also concerns about AstraZeneca in remote Aboriginal communities but that the government would be ramping up its messaging.

“I think we’ve done a very good effort on keeping people as informed as possible, there are some questions around at the moment, around the world, when it comes to vaccinations,” he said.

“I’m not surprised that people in remote areas have questions but we are more than happy to answer them.”

Information ‘not from health sources’

Chief Minister Michael Gunner sits in a health clinic, as two staff give him the AstraZeneca vaccination.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he wanted to show confidence in the vaccine.(

ABC News: Michael Donnelly

)

NT Chief Health Officer Dr Hugh Heggie also received the AstraZeneca vaccine and urged people to register to receive the jab.

“It is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to protection from serious disease,” he said.

“I’ve seen deafness and severe brain damage from measles.”

Dr Heggie said they were aiming to have all eligible people in the Northern Territory vaccinated by the end of the year and that the NT and federal governments would work to combat misinformation.

“It’s not so much people who are against vaccination but there may be a view, and this is not just about Aboriginal people, that this virus is not real or indeed that it is only certain groups of people in the population that get this virus.”

Dr Hugh Heggie stands for a portrait.
Dr Hugh Heggie says he has seen people with life-long disabilities from diseases that are now vaccine-preventable.(

ABC News: Michael Donnelly

)

Communities could be waiting months for vaccine

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said vaccinations would begin this week in remote communities, with 13 Aboriginal community health organisations working to provide the jab.

“The challenge in the Northern Territory is our large geographical area,” she said.

“When we go into remote communities we will make sure that we vaccinate whoever might be available, we won’t be strict in the categories because we need to roll this out right across the Territory.”

Vaccine clinics will also be established in Tennant Creek, Katherine and Gove.

The shoulder of a volunteer is seen as they receive an injection by a person wearing gloves.
Despite concerns, medical clinics are booked out for days in advance for vaccine doses.(

AP: Siphiwe Sibeko

)

Ms Fyles said there was no rush to rollout Phase 1b as there has been no community transmission in the Territory.

“It could be months before a community sees the vaccine, so we do need to be timely in the information,” she said.

Arafura medical clinic practice manager Patricia Crompton said, despite some concerns, they had been inundated by the demand for the vaccine and had hundreds of doses booked in advance.

“We will be doing 550 doses per week,” she said.

There are 10 general practitioner clinics and three respiratory clinics administering the vaccine within this first week of Phase 1b.

People eligible for Phase1b can call approved clinics or their Aboriginal health clinics to book an appointment.

So far NT Health has administered 5083 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 467 Territorians who have received a second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

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Coronavirus vaccine Phase 1b rollout frustrating Australian GP clinics


Health Minister Greg Hunt this week announced what would have been music to the ears of more than 6 million Australians — it’s now your turn to get the coronavirus vaccine.

But for general practices across the country, the news sounded like thousands of phones that would not stop ringing.

The Australian government released a list of GP clinics that would be able to start vaccinations from March 22 and an online eligibility checker that gives a contact number for vaccine providers in your area.

Kathy Turner, a GP based near Geelong in Victoria, said the government told people to contact their GPs without giving prior warning to clinics, some of which had not yet received doses.

“You should have heard the phone — I couldn’t believe it,” Dr Turner said.

“It was a premature announcement on the government’s part and it was done without consultation with general practice.

“My manager was on the ball and took control pretty quickly and put a recorded message to say ‘please don’t phone about getting the COVID vaccination, they haven’t arrived yet and we’ll be getting a limited number only to start off with’.”

Junction Street Family Practice in Nowra on New South Wales’ south coast is preparing to administer 100 COVID vaccinations a week.

But when the government released the list of GPs taking part in the Phase 1B rollout, practice manager Gail Lloyd was shocked to find her clinic was not on the list.

“We’re not coming up as a vaccination centre because we’re on the week two rollout but nobody’s really specified that and now if our patients go looking at any of the websites they don’t find us,” Ms Lloyd said.

“I thought that was badly managed, they could have said there are other practices coming on board, ring your own practice first.”

Mr Hunt has said the plan was always to make the announcement on Wednesday.

Like many GPs across the country, Dr Turner’s clinic has been given a small supply of the vaccine, just 80 doses per week.

It’s a meager amount compared to up to the 140 flu vaccinations a day they gave to patients in April last year.

John Hilton, a GP at the Grange Medical Centre in Cooloongup, south of Perth, said his clinic had only been assigned 50 COVID vaccines a week.

“It’s not a case of our capacity, it’s a case of what supplies will be given as to how many we vaccinate,” Dr Hilton said.

“Last year we would have done 1,000 flu vaccines in a two-to-three-week period, without effecting the running of the practice.

“We can run these things  — it’s one of our core businesses, providing vaccinations — we’ve got the know-how and the resources to do it.”

Karen Price, president of the peak body Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, has called for greater support from the federal government.

“This is a massive logistical effort on the part of GP clinics across Australia and we need all the support we can get from the government,” Dr Price said.

“GP clinics on the front line are under an extraordinary amount of pressure and we need the government to communicate clearly with us.

“GPs need assurances on the supply chain of doses and predictable supply well ahead of time in order to match the demand with supply, staffing and practice logistics.”

Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy has said Australia is not in a hurry with the rollout and people should not badger their GPs.

“While some GP clinics are coming online next week, they won’t be releasing appointments until they’re sure of their vaccine deliveries, which are coming in the next day or two,” he said.

Dr Hilton said the government may have been overconfident in its vaccine supply.

“Maybe they had a high expectation of being higher on the worldwide list,” he said.

“But we’ve been doing the footwork to make sure our end will run seamlessly when it does.”

Ms Lloyd said it was exciting to be part of the COVID vaccination roll-out but the process had become more complex than it needed to be.

“I think it is a shame that everybody couldn’t just be vaccinating their own patients because it’s always better for people to be going to their own practice where their medical record and history is,” she said.

The government expects that 4,000 GP clinics will be able to administer the vaccines by the end of April.

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Muddled COVID-19 vaccine rollout has phase 1B jabs starting before 1A in north-west Victoria


COVID-19 vaccinations are set to begin in Victoria’s north-west next week, but the order of the rollout has raised eyebrows at local health centres.

Phase 1B of the rollout will begin at GP and respiratory clinics, but there is still no timeline for phase 1A in Mildura and Swan Hill.

Swan Hill District Health chief executive Peter Abraham said it put the region in a peculiar position.

“Logically, it obviously makes sense to do phase 1A, then after that 1B,” he said.

“We have a number of people who need to be vaccinated in phase 1A, which includes our aged care residents.

The state government is in charge of phase 1A vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers, quarantine workers and people involved in aged care and disability care.

The vaccination hub in charge of delivering the vaccine to Mildura and Swan Hill is Bendigo Health.

A spokesperson said the delay in starting phase 1A was due to a lack of supply from the Commonwealth.

“Bendigo Health has vaccinated 1,000 people in the phase 1A cohort in the Loddon Mallee region since our program began on March 1,” they said.

“Healthcare workers and aged care residents in Bendigo, Inglewood, Castlemaine and Kyneton have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The expansion of our vaccination program to other areas in the Loddon Mallee region is dependent on Commonwealth supply of the vaccine.”

The ABC has sought comment form the federal Department of Health.

John Dyson-Berry from the Lime Medial Clinic in Mildura said he was not too concerned by the order of the rollout.

Eighty doses of the vaccine for phase 1B arrived at the Lime Medical Clinic on Wednesday.

“Obviously it’s a political issue — I’m a health care worker, I’m over 65 and I haven’t received [a vaccine] in 1A either,” Dr Dyson-Berry said.

“But politics aside, the whole idea is that ultimately – and as soon as possible – everybody gets vaccinated.”

Member for Mallee Anne Webster said the likely rollout of phase 1B before to 1A was a “very curious” situation.

“It’s inevitable that with a massive system there will be challenges … we have to be patient with the process,” she said.

Mr Abraham said he would not believe that vaccinations would begin, for phase 1A or 1B, until they arrived on the doorstep of the Swan Hill hospital.

“Until the truck, the car, the bus or whatever shows up with the vaccines, we won’t count our chickens just yet,” he said.

“But we’re ready for them — we’ve got space in our immunisation fridge, our pharmacy, we’ve got processes in place to make sure everything is right from a quality perspective.

“We’re working very closely with the Bendigo public health unit to try and get some sort of sense of when and how 1A will be rolled out.

“Hopefully 1A can come along soon for us.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking this news update involving “What’s On in the Mildura to Swan Hill Region titled “Muddled COVID-19 vaccine rollout has phase 1B jabs starting before 1A in north-west Victoria”. This news article was shared by My Local Pages Australia as part of our VIC current news services.

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All Katherine residents in phase 1A receive first doses of coronavirus vaccine


The Northern Territory has achieved the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations of any state or territory on a per capita basis.

There have been nearly 4,000 jabs in total across the NT so far.

Katherine has also achieved a milestone with all residents in phase 1A receiving their first doses of the vaccine.

For nurse Rachel Jones, getting the coronavirus vaccine was a bittersweet moment.

She lost her father to coronavirus in the United Kingdom last year as she spent the pandemic working in the isolated NT town of Katherine, separated from family overseas.

“I’m a bit emotional about the whole thing, but I think we’re very lucky in Australia that we haven’t had to go through what they went through in the UK,” Ms Jones said.

Rachel Jones and other frontline health workers who have received their first doses of the vaccine are looking forward to helping other Territorians during the rollout.(

ABC News: Nicholas Hynes

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Ms Jones is one of about 160 frontline workers in Katherine who have been vaccinated this week, as the town rapidly approaches the end of the first phase of the rollout.

Two deliveries of the ultra-cold Pfizer vaccine were brought to the town on charter flights from Darwin.

“The response has been great and we’ve managed to give 160 vaccines during the two days with no wastage,” Top End Health Service’s Angela Brannelly said.

Support officer Adam Kadadykasim Barma said he would be relieved when the vaccine rollout was complete.

A man shows his vaccination certificate and bandaid on his arm after receiving his coronavirus jab.
Support officer Adam Kadadykasim Barma said getting his first dose of the vaccine was an important step.(

ABC News: Nicholas Hynes

)

The Northern Territory’s small population and centralised hospitals have seen it lead the country in the rollout, with the highest vaccination rate on a per capita basis.

The next phase

But attention is now turning to the next phase, which will see the vaccine taken to the Territory’s remote Indigenous communities.

The first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine — which does not need to be stored between -60 and -90 degrees Celsius — is due to arrive in the Territory within days.

“With the AstraZeneca vaccine, we won’t have the challenges around charter flights so we can make sure we can give the maximum amount of vaccine,” Ms Brannelly said.

On Friday, the Federal Government expanded the next phase to ease logistical challenges of the rollout into remote communities.

For Ms Jones and other frontline workers in Katherine, the focus is now on supporting the ongoing success of the rollout.

“I just want it (the vaccine) to be out in the communities and remote communities to vaccinate those people, because we have so many vulnerable people.”

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Federal government adjusts phase 1b coronavirus vaccination rollout to include more Aboriginal Australians



Just over a week out from the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccinations for the phase 1b priority group, the Australian government has quietly changed the parameters to include more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote residents.

The ABC understands the decision has been made to assist the logistics of delivering the vaccines to remote communities.

It would mean vaccination teams who head to remote Aboriginal communities can immunise all adults over the age of 18 who want the vaccine, rather than just people over 55 or those who met the previous criteria for phase 1b.

The changes would not be targeting, for instance, young Aboriginal people living in urban areas.

The federal Department of Health website has changed its phase 1b category to say, “beginning to vaccinate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.

A spokeswoman from the department confirmed the change would also include non-Indigenous remote residents.

“All remote and very remote residents [inclusive of both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and the non-Indigenous population] over the age of 18 will be considered a priority group, due to logistical requirements,” she said.

Previously it was “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55” or who met other phase 1b criteria, like having an underlying medical condition, being a healthcare worker, critical or high-risk worker.

There was no change to this for people living in urban and regional locations.

Changes will help with remote vaccine rollout

The Northern Territory government, which is preparing for a massive challenge vaccinating its vulnerable and geographically isolated populations, said the change would help streamline its delivery of vaccines for remote residents.

“[It’s] a much more practical way of vaccinating rather than going in once for people who are over 55 and healthcare workers, and then a second time for adults who are under 55,” lead for the NT’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Michelle McKay, told ABC Radio Alice Springs.

“It’s a really good change to approach from our perspective.

“A number of organisations, including our partners in the ACCHO [Australian Community Controlled Health Organisation] sectors and others have pointed out that, particularly for remote communities, that it makes it much easier if we can go in once and give everyone who’s having it, their first dose.

“And then we can go back a second time do the second dose.”

Phase 1b is expected to begin on March 22.

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