ACT's swing at feds over Pfizer supplies

© Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Andrew Barr says the ACT should not be treated differently to Victoria and NSW on vaccine supply.

The ACT has accused the federal government of giving NSW and Victoria preferential treatment with Pfizer vaccines as Canberra records seven new COVID-19 infections.

All of Monday’s cases are linked, but at least four were in the community for some of the time while infectious.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is pleased with the number.

But he warned it was  too early to say if it is a trend, pointing to the 30 local infections reported on Friday.

The chief minister also accused the federal government of favouring NSW and Victoria with supplies of Pfizer doses. 

While federal advice indicates the ACT’s supply will not reduce over September and October, Mr Barr said it would also not increase as projected over that time and into November. 

“We will continue to work with the Commonwealth on this point. We are optimistic that the issue can be positively resolved,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“During their outbreaks, NSW and Victoria both received increased supplies of vaccines. It is our view that the ACT should not be treated any differently.

“I don’t think any other jurisdiction in the midst of an outbreak has had its forward projections reduced.”

The ACT is leading the country on vaccination rates, double-dosing 55 per cent of its population aged 12 and older.

Mr Barr is unhappy extra Pfizer supplies all being directed to GPs, and Moderna doses to pharmacies, instead of the ACT’s mass vaccination hubs.

While the territory has just opened bookings at these clinics for children between 12 and 15, families are warned they may have to wait longer.

Mr Barr thinks the ACT government can deliver doses more efficiently through its hubs compared with GPs and pharmacies.

He hopes every eligible resident who wants a jab can get at least one by mid-October, when the lockdown is scheduled to run until.

The chief minister also thinks it’s prudent to wait until the national average for full vaccinations hits 80 per cent before giving the green light to major changes.

“Why does it matter for the ACT? Well everyone is presuming that there will be much more freedom of movement between the ACT, NSW and Victoria as we all move towards those thresholds,” he said.

“So it does matter what the vaccination rate is in those other jurisdictions.”

But the minister also stressed the difference between 70 and 80 per cent will likely amount to days or perhaps a week. 

There are 224 active cases in the territory, with five people in hospital including two in intensive care. One of these patients is on a ventilator. 

The number of local cases that can be linked and how many are in the community while infectious will be crucial in determining whether the lockdown will end on October 15.

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