Australia has struggled to meet its goals concerning the COVID-19 vaccination. With a reported 3.1 million doses of Astra Zeneca’s vaccine being blocked by the EU from entering Australia.
The Prime minister said at a press conference that the reason Australia had not received its doses of the vaccine is because the EU has just not sent them. Despite this claim, a European Union spokesperson has said that this is not true.
No matter what the truth is the federal government is under scrutiny for the discrepancy between the 855,000 vaccinations currently administered and the original goal of 4 million by the end of March. This all combined with the government being secretive about the number of doses being manufactured locally has caused the public to lose faith in their government.
The Nationals deputy leader, David Littleproud, said on Monday that Australia had been “badly let down” by the EU. “The arithmetic is simple on this,” he told the Nine Network. “We are 3m [doses] short because of the EU who cut us short.”
The European Commission spokesperson defended themselves by stating that the only export that has been rejected out of 500 has been a shipment of 250,000 doses to Australia. This is a far cry from the millions the Australian government is claiming to have missing.
In earlier statements health officials expected 1 million locally made doses to be available per week. And in March Morrison claimed that CSL was producing more than 900,000 shots a week. Despite this Morrison declined to set a new target for vaccinations for the end of April, blaming the supply lines for the hold-up and once again citing the 3.1 million vaccines they said never came to Australia.
There has also been talk about administering the vaccines the government does have in mass vaccination centres like other countries such as the United States already has. The issue with this is as Morrison pointed out that without further doses and better distribution having mass vaccination centres would make no difference.
A CSL spokesperson said the company was “committed to providing the Australian government with the doses required to fulfil its Covid-19 vaccination strategy…In the first week of the local roll-out, 832,000 doses were released ahead of schedule to the Australian government,” the spokesperson said.
Recently some developments have been made in an effort to vaccinate citizens more swiftly. Since the supply issue is slowly solving, the number of medical centres giving out the vaccine a double from 1500 to 3000. Manufacturing at Melbourne-based CSL has also upped its production in an effort to help solve the distribution issue.
The vaccine program has to work for more than just the health of the people, but the health of the economy. If vaccinations are not quickly produced Australian tourism industry could start to fail even more so than it already has. Since borders shut down for Covid-19 Australia’s 60-billion-dollar tourism industry has gone into hibernation. With the damage that is already being done to the economy, the country cannot afford to take any more of a financial hit than it already has.
The situation with Covid-19 has taken the whole world by surprise and the issues that the pandemic has brought extend beyond the borders of any one country. While governments across the world struggle to maintain balance the citizens and the economy continue to suffer. One glimmer of hope shines through all of this, that the end is possibly in sight. With more and more people being vaccinated globally, it’s hopeful that the effectiveness of the vaccines over the next 12 months will mean these problems are on their way towards being relegated to history.