Turns Out NSW Health Giving 163 Private School Boys The Pfizer Jab Was Somehow An ‘Error’

st josephs college vaccine error

NSW Health has stated that giving 163 St Joseph’s College students the Pfizer jab was done ‘in error’, but that hasn’t stopped people from calling out double standards in vaccine accessibility.

The Sydney Local Health District, who administered vaccinations to the St Joseph’s College year 12 students a few weeks ago, has said they were given as a mistake. The original plan was to only vaccinate Indigenous students yet, somehow, 163 vaccinations were administered. Sounds like a heck of an error to me.

“All Aboriginal people aged 16 to 49 years of age are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Commonwealth government eligibility criteria as they have a higher risk of acquiring, and developing severe disease from, COVID-19,” Chief Executive of Sydney Local Health District, Dr Teresa Anderson said.

“Through an error, the wider group of boarders in year 12, a total of 163 students, were also vaccinated [at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital].

“Sydney Local Health District apologises for this error.”

NSW Health is yet to explain how such a huge mistake could happen considering only 4% of St Joseph’s College students are Indigenous, and there are around 200 students in the year 12 cohort.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that sources said the school originally enquired about vaccinating Indigenous students only, but was invited to bring the boarders along too.

The public response to this ‘error’ has been swift and angry, as people point out the unfairness in private school boys having access to the Pfizer vaccine while many elderly and at-risk Australians are yet to vaccinated.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has criticised the idea that the St Joseph’s College students were *all* vaccinated because of their Indigenous student population, saying that other schools with far more vulnerable populations were yet to have their students or teachers vaccinated. Brewarrina Central School, for example, has a population were 97% of the students are Indigenous.

“If the alleged reason St Joseph’s students got access to Pfizer was due to the risk of spreading COVID to Indigenous communities, then a far more effective solution would be to vaccinate those communities instead,” he said.

While some people are defending the year 12 students receiving the Pfizer vaccine as a positive event that could limit the spread of COVID-19 in an active group of young people, others argue that if anyone should be vaccinated at schools, it’s teachers.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said he was shocked that the students were prioritised over teachers when the Delta variant can be transmitted by children.

“Recognising schools and the complexity of schools and that you can have in excess of 1000 people in an enclosed environment with a variety that’s transmissible by children, teachers must be prioritised.”

You can read our original report of this story here.