Who even knows what the fuck is going on with the vaccine rollout anymore? On Friday morning, Scott Morrison said his government snagged expedited shipments from Pfizer. Then Pfizer released a statement saying nothing had changed from its perspective. Then Morrison held a press conference to explain that the doses really are coming sooner than expected. It’s a mess.
Basically, Morrison went on a bit of a media blitz on Friday morning. On the Sydney talkback radio station 2GB, he strongly implied that his government had managed to expedite shipments of the Pfizer vaccine to Australia.
As a refresher, Pfizer is the vaccine that’s recommended for younger Aussies, but it must be imported from overseas. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being made at a factory in Melbourne, is mainly recommended for older people, although younger people are now able to access it if they have a chat with their GP first.
“Last month we were getting 1.7 million [doses] a month, this month we will get to 2.8 million, and then in August we’ll be at 4.5 million, so this is quite a ramp-up,” Morrison said on Friday morning.
“Now this is something [Health Minister] Greg Hunt and [Chief Medical Officer Dr] Brendan Murphy have been working on with Pfizer. We’re in constant contact with them, I mean we’re always trying to get our deliveries brought forward.
“So this is very, very welcome, and that work has paid off, and that means by the 19th of July we will be at one million doses of Pfizer per week.”
The thing is, these comments prompted Pfizer to come out with a statement to clarify that as far as they’re concerned, the delivery schedule has remained “on track”. You’d think that means the shipments aren’t in fact being brought forward.
“The total number of 40 million doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia in 2021 has not changed,” Pfizer said.
“We continue to work closely with the government to support their rollout program.
“While the details of our agreement with the government are confidential, we can confirm that deliveries to Australia remain on track, and continue to profess in line with our weekly delivery schedule.
“We expect the remainder of the 40 million doses to be delivered by the end of 2021.”
Scott Morrison: "I've expedited Pfizer doses." (no one could possibly find out my lie)
Pfizer: "Uh, no you haven't." pic.twitter.com/aBSlI6cdVe
— Lui Zacher (@LuiFromTheRadio) July 8, 2021
Then, late on Friday arvo, Morrison held a press conference where he said that the Pfizer shipments really had been brought forward, and that all of us were just confused. Ya don’t say?
“We’ve been able to bring forward these important doses out of our contracted program which means they’re available now, in July. It’s real,” he said.
He added that “it has been our priority to work with Pfizer to bring forward the doses that we contracted and we’ve been successful in doing that.”
According to Morrison, NSW should get 150,000 expedited doses of Pfizer and another 150,000 of AstraZeneca next week.
Around the same time, the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas said she had confirmed with Pfizer that next month’s shipment is set to arrive sooner than initially scheduled.
“The information I’m sharing is confirmed by Pfizer,” Karvelas posted on Twitter.
Same doses for 2021.
But the August doses come earlier (hopefully)
This is what Pfizer says #vaccinerollout
— Patricia Karvelas (@PatsKarvelas) July 9, 2021
It would be nice if the government was a) trustworthy enough to be believed at face value and b) good enough at communication that people understood whether new vaccine doeses really had been expedited or not. Alas, as a nation we’re mired in chaos and dysfunction.
The one bit of undeniably good news is that 1,300-odd GPs will be able to administer the Pfizer vaccine later this month. GPs had already been giving the AstraZeneca jab, but for Pfizer, people needed to either snag at appointment at a hospital or at a megaclinic, which is easier said than done.
It says a lot about Australia’s utter clusterfuck of a vaccine rollout that even supposedly good news has sent the nation into a fit of confusion. Just give us our jabs and bring this whole lockdown mess to an end, please.