Exposed: Actual reason for Qld’s slow vaccine rollout
The Queensland government has halved its orders of coronavirus jabs from last month.
Despite blaming supply issues for weeks over a decision not to set up mass vaccination hubs, new data reveals Queensland ordered about 24,500 vaccine doses last week and 21,060 the week before - nearly half the 41,160 ordered the week ending April 25.
Queensland Health says the reduced number is due to health advice around AstraZeneca, but the recommendation for people under 50 to avoid that jab was issued on April 8 - two weeks before the 41,160 doses were ordered, the most the state has requested.
At the same time, other states have ramped up their orders from the Federal Government with NSW opening its first vaccination hub this week and requesting 60,840 jabs - double what it did the week before.
Western Australia, which has a population half of Queensland's, ordered 26,780 last week and 23,270 the week before, according to the Commonwealth data.
In Week 7 and 8 of the vaccine rollout in early April, when this data was first made available, Queensland was ordering about 35,000 vaccines a week.
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath yesterday doubled down on the decision to only consider mass vaccination hubs when a large shipment of the Pfizer jab arrives in the last quarter of 2021, saying the "vaccine numbers aren't there".
But Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, when asked about Queensland's decision not to set up hubs due to stock concerns, said there was "plenty of supply" for all states as production of locally-made AstraZeneca doses ramps up and Pfizer shipments remain consistent.
"These are choices for states," he said.
"Some states have scaled back their ordering and if they wish to renew their ordering, we would be very, very happy to do that."
According to Queensland Health, the revamped rollout caused by health advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine meant "significant portions" of the health workforce in Phases 1a and 1b weren't able to receive the jab.
"As a result, surplus AstraZeneca doses are being distributed to Queensland GPs," a spokeswoman said.
The Commonwealth data does not reveal how many of the vaccines ordered were AstraZeneca.
NSW state-run clinics have hit a new daily jab record, administering 7552 doses in the 24 hours to Thursday, with a third of that at its mass vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park.
In Queensland, state-run clinics put 2456 jabs into arms in the same time frame.
Ms D'Ath said Queensland was a decentralised state and the government would not "set up mass vaccination centres predominantly in major capital areas and forget about the rest of the state".
She said the government's outreach clinics, in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, had gone out to regional areas including Ayr, Ingham and the Central West to vaccinate whole communities.
Pfizer hubs will also be set up across the state by the end of the month according to Queensland Health.
Originally published as Qld Govt halves number of COVID vaccines ordered