Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young have fired back at Scott Morrison in a heated Wednesday morning press conference for making a random announcement on Monday night that people under 40 would be able to get the AstraZeneca jab.
“No, I do not want under 40s to get AstraZeneca,” Palaszczuk said bluntly on Wednesday morning.
“Because they are at increased risk of getting – it is rare, but they are at increased risk of getting the rare clotting syndrome.”
While Morrison made the bumbling announcement right after a National Cabinet meeting on Monday night, Palaszczuk said there had actually been “no National Cabinet decision” on the matter. That means he just said it, apparently without informing any of the Premiers of health authorities.
“So I’d like to ask the Prime Minister: did his cabinet make that decision?” Palaszczuk said.
It’s almost as if Morrison just accidentally made the announcement up on the fly.
QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gives the strongest rebuke yet to PM's suggestion under 40s can ask GPs for AstraZeneca following indemnity changes. "There's been no national cabinet decision. I'd like to ask the PM, did his cabinet make the decision?" #Auspol #Qldpol @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/zByO4Ikym2
— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) June 30, 2021
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young was similar dismissive of Morrison’s announcement, adding that the snap decision caught her off guard like everyone else.
“I haven’t been able to talk to him and to understand his thought processes,” she told reporters at the press conference.
“The Premier announced in national cabinet that there wasn’t a discussion, so I genuinely don’t understand his processes.
“I know an urgent meeting has been called by the Commonwealth today with chief health officers to talk this through, so I’m sure I will find out more.”
"Do you think under 40s should get AstraZeneca?" Here's Dr Jeannette Young's response: pic.twitter.com/HpSF0k5KYH
— Clare Barnes (@ClareBarnes_10) June 30, 2021
When asked to clarify what young Aussies should do in terms of going ahead with getting vaccinated, Young didn’t mince her words.
“I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who – if they got COVID – probably wouldn’t die,” she said, raising her voice.
“So we are not in a position that I need to ask young, fit, healthy people to put their health on the line getting a vaccine that could potentially significantly harm them.”
We should stress that it’s important to speak to your doctor about such decisions, and not to just pick a vaccine based on what a health official from one state said. The AstraZeneca vaccine is still very much effective against COVID-19, after all.
For those keeping track, the RACGP (the peak body representing GPs) and the Australian Medical Association (the professional body representing doctors) both came out yesterday to add that they were completely blindsided by the announcement.
While the RACGP did welcome the news, it said that many doctors have no idea how to go about giving young people the AstraZeneca jab because the government didn’t actually article how the indemnity scheme is supposed to work.
Vaccines: good. The government’s rollout: bad.