NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state has vaccinated as many residents against Covid-19 as “humanly possible” and blamed the lagging rollout on supply issues.
Mr Hazzard hit back at claims any additional AstraZeneca vaccines had been provided by the federal government to curb the current outbreak in western Sydney.
“You’re wrong. What is happened is that those are advance doses. We cannot get enough to fill up the facilities we have,” he told a reporter on Wednesday morning.
“There’s plenty of AstraZeneca around. That’s not the issue. It’s the Pfizer.”
The state recorded 110 locally acquired cases of the virus in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night as it battles to bring the outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant under control.
NSW Health administered more than 23,000 vaccine doses in the same time period.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was ready to get more “jabs into arms” but was awaiting more doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the Commonwealth.
Ms Berejiklian said the amount of available vaccines was “the one thing” the NSW government couldn’t control.
Camera IconNSW has blamed its slow vaccine rollout on supply issues, pointing the finger at the federal government. NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes Credit: News Corp Australia
The Morrison government hinged its beleaguered vaccine rollout – which has so far fully inoculated an estimated 11 per cent of the population – on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be manufactured locally.
But shifting medical advice from Australia’s expert immunisation panel, ATAGI, means the limited Pfizer vaccine is now the recommended shot for under-40s, because of an extremely rare blood-clotting condition.
People under 40, most of whom are not currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, may choose to have AstraZeneca after speaking with a doctor.
Some additional Pfizer doses have begun arriving in Australia but most young people can expect to wait months before they can receive one.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday the vaccine rollout couldn’t more immediately be expanded to under-40s because of the “finite number” of shots available.