The Northern Territory's chief minister says opposition calls to send surplus COVID-19 vaccines to virus-stricken NSW are “mad” and could risk lives.
Country Liberal Party leader Lia Finocchiaro says the Labor government should explore sending surplus stock to help NSW, which on Thursday recorded its worst day of the pandemic with 262 local cases and five deaths.
“It's not to be at the expense of Territorians getting the vaccine,” she told reporters.
“But if we have extra stock … and we know we can get another shipment in, can we offload that stockpile we have?”
Ms Finocchiaro said the nation should work together to push up vaccination rates.
“We've got to do whatever it takes to give people the jab,” she said.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT doesn't have any extra vaccines to share, and calls to send supplies to Sydney were dangerous.
“Quite frankly, it is mad,” he said.
“What's happening in Sydney right now is bloody heartbreaking.
“But it's not a reason to put the Territory at greater risk by slowing down our vaccine rollout.”
More than 31 per cent of eligible Territorians are fully vaccinated and 50.4 per cent or 96,077 have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are 246,500 people in the NT.
Mr Gunner said the worsening outbreak in NSW should prompt Territorians to get vaccinated as quickly as possible
“We can see now how dangerous and deadly the Delta strain is. COVID doesn't work on a timetable,” he said.
“We are in a race against time.”