The Australian state of Queensland has just eight days of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine left, authorities warned on Wednesday, as confusion over who should receive the AstraZeneca jab continued and outbreaks across the country grew.
The state’s health minister, Dr Yvette D’ath, said the federal government had denied Queensland’s request for more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, despite having given another state, Victoria, 100,000 doses three weeks ago.
“So we are getting to that point that we’ll have to start prioritising only second doses if the commonwealth do not have any vaccine left," ella dijo. “And they need to tell us. Is what they gave Victoria the end of it? Have we only got what is allocate and no contingency stock left until that big delivery in October? Because we all need to know.”
The state of New South Wales – home to Sydney and the centre of a major outbreak – confirmed 22 nuevas infecciones, all of which were linked to previous cases and half of which had been in isolation for all or part of the time they were infectious.
A 72-hour lockdown was announced for the Northern Territory town of Alice Springs because a mineworker who spent more than six hours at the town’s airport – but did not leave the airport – was believed to be infected. The man was tested for Covid and the result was negative, but four of his five household contacts had subsequently been infected.
“We will operate on the assumption that he has Covid-19 and we will operate on the assumption that he was infectious while in the Territory,” chief minister Michael Gunner said on Wednesday.
mientras tanto, state leaders and health officials addressed continuing confusion sparked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments on Monday night that people under 40 could receive an AstraZeneca jab and that the government would indemnify doctors who administered the vaccine in such cases. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) still advises against under-40s receiving AstraZeneca due to the risk of rare blood clots.
New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said in response to questions about Morrison’s comments: “The New South Wales government always follows the health advice, and the health advice from the federal regulatory bodies is that those over 60 should be getting AstraZeneca.”
Victorian state health minister Martin Foley said the confusion was an “unfortunate reflection of the rushed conversation that the prime minister kicked off late on Monday night without talking to anyone.”
When Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young was asked whether those under 40 should get the AstraZeneca vaccine she said: "No, I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca,” and that she didn’t “want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got Covid, probably wouldn’t die.”
The latest cases include two healthcare workers in two states. In New South Wales, multiple wards of the Fairfield and Royal North Shore hospitals were locked down and not accepting new patients after a student nurse tested positive for Covid. None of the patients who came into contact with the nurse had yet tested positive, said state chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.
In Queensland, authorities announced that one of the state’s cases was a clerical worker at Brisbane’s Prince Charles hospital. The woman had been offered a vaccine but had not had any doses. D’ath added that the the woman should not have been posted outside the Covid-19 ward without being vaccinated and the government was investigating who was responsible.