An excited and overjoyed Dan Andrews has discovered on live TV that Victoria will receive a huge shipment of vaccines.
But the Victorian premier couldn’t help but take a shot at Scott Morrison for not letting him know in advance and showing favouritism to NSW.
Mr Andrews was asked about the prime minister’s announcement that 400,000 Pfizer and Moderna jabs were being sent to Victoria to help the state’s growing outbreak after 392 cases of coronavirus were recorded on Sunday.
‘Good!’ he replied, before clarifying he had no idea the vaccines were on the way and they were in addition to other doses he announced.
‘I am delighted to know that, that is fantastic news! Get them into arms! That is what I’m about,’ he added.
Dan Andrews couldn’t help but take a shot at Scott Morrison after finding out live during his daily press conference Victoria were getting another huge shipment of vaccines
He sarcastically thanked Mr Morrison for the vaccines and mocked him for not securing millions of doses last year when he had the chance.
‘It’s hard to know what to expect, I didn’t expect hundreds of thousands of doses that should’ve come to Victoria went to Sydney, this is fantastic news,’ the Victoria Premier said.
‘Maybe while I’ve been talking to you there’s been a missed call on my phone.
‘I don’t know, let’s not argue about who said what to whom. Let’s get jabbed in arms and that is what I’m focused on. Always have been.’
Mr Andrews was asked by a reporter if he had just found out the vaccines were coming to his state, to which he replied ‘yes’, before continuing with his mocking of the prime minister.
‘Maybe if they had been ordered last year they would be arms already!’
Mr Andrews sarcastically thanked Mr Morrison for the vaccines and mocking him for the leaked emails between the federal government and Pfizer representatives
Mr Andrews was referring to the emails that were leaked this week between the federal government and representatives from Pfizer that showed ministers stalling on a deal that would have seen Australia covered for vaccines in June last year.
On June 30 last year a Pfizer representative contacted the Health Department to request the meeting, saying the American company had ‘the potential to supply millions of vaccine doses [around the world] by the end of 2020’.
Mr Hunt left it to Health Department First Assistant Secretary Lisa Schofield to respond and three days later she said that she – not the minister – would attend a virtual meeting on July 10.
The US and Britain signed deals to buy millions of doses from Pfizer in July but no-one from Mr Hunt’s office met the company until August 4.
Australia finally signed a deal for a measly 10 million doses in November. The first doses arrived in February, two months after the US and Britain had already rolled them out.
‘Maybe if they had been ordered last year they would be arms already!’ Mr Andrews said of the shipment of Pfizer vaccines arriving in Victoria
Mr Andrews referenced the failure of the federal government to fully supply Australia with vaccines earlier, while also reiterating his point of bias towards his home state of NSW.
The Victorian Premier has labelled Scott Morrison the ‘Prime Minister for NSW’ in the past.
He demanded 340,000 vaccines be distributed to Victoria earlier this week, tearing into Mr Morrison’s ‘secret’ and ‘under the table’ handling of the rollout.
‘I signed up to the national plan to vaccinate our nation, not a national plan to vaccinate Sydney,’ Mr Andrews said last week.
‘We have seen hundreds of thousands of vaccines that should have come and should now be in the arms of Victorians going into Sydney and into GP practices in NSW.
‘This was not announced. This was done without anyone knowing, and the Commonwealth have got caught doing it so it needs to stop.
‘There needs to be a make good. There needs to be a reckoning where additional doses come to Victoria.’
Mr Morrison referenced the Victorian supply during a press conference on Sunday, saying they were prioritising the state as its outbreak deepens.
‘Victoria is currently dealing with the continued surge in cases just like we saw in NSW some time ago,’ he said.
‘Residents in particular in Melbourne’s North and West will benefit from additional vaccines and the rapid expansion of vaccination sites across the region.’
Epidemiologists are concerned the current trend could see Victoria’s rate overtake that of NSW, with the state on track to record over 1,000 cases per day in the coming weeks
Experts are concerned Victoria’s numbers are skyrocketing at a faster rate than NSW, with accelerated vaccinations and community compliance required to stop cases rising further
Victoria recorded 392 cases of coronavirus on Sunday amid concerns the outbreak is taking off faster than Sydney’s and will soon top 1,000 a day.
Just 107 of the new cases were linked to the outbreak with 285 still under investigation by overwhelmed contact tracers.
They were diagnosed from 48,063 tests and 36,534 vaccine doses were administered on Saturday.
New cases fell sharply from Saturday’s dramatic escalation to 450, but were still higher than at any other point this year.
Premier Dan Andrews appeared in Sunday’s daily Covid press conference, which was held at the same time as his New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, who announced she will no longer hold the daily meetings.
Mr Andrews said there were more than 7,000 available slots for Pfizer vaccinations across the state, as well as a stockpile of AstraZeneca jabs.
‘These vaccines have been through a rigorous process. They are safe, effective,’ he said.
‘No-one in hospital who is gravely ill have been double dosed and that’s because these vaccines work. They are absolutely effective and safe.’
Experts are concerned Victoria’s numbers are skyrocketing at a faster rate than New South Wales, with accelerated vaccinations and community compliance required to stop cases rising further.
As NSW moves towards ‘Freedom Day’, Victoria looks set to remain in lockdown beyond October as numbers threaten to get out of control.
Sunday’s new cases are the most since August 11 last year and Saturday’s the most since August 4 which had 700 at the height of Victoria’s second wave.
The Deakin University professor said there must be more compliance from the community as the state battles its latest Delta variant outbreak
There are also increasing fears that parts of regional Victoria could be thrown back into lockdown just a few days after they were given their freedom.
Victoria has reached its 62nd day of its latest outbreak, with a three-day rolling average of 369, below that of NSW’s average of 427.3 daily cases at the same stage.
Despite that number, experts think the number of unlinked cases and exposure sites mean that figure could drastically increase and see cases spiral out of control unless they ramp up vaccinations and have more compliance from residents.
‘Sydney always took a more of a nutcracker approach, but that didn’t work when it came to Delta,’ epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett told The Age.
‘We [Victoria] came in with a sledgehammer, but that still didn’t work. There’s probably not as much difference between, in terms of effectiveness, the sledgehammer, and the nutcracker, I think it was a bit of a distraction for all of us.’
The Deakin University professor said while contact tracing, social distancing and lockdowns worked on earlier variants, the Delta strain was significantly more difficult to deal with and that vaccinations and increased compliance were the only way out.
‘Unless you get that absolute buy-in, luck on your side and a small-enough, tight-enough spread of community transmission that you can contain, then it’s all about vaccine because vaccine works everywhere,’ Professor Bennett said.
Victoria has recorded 392 cases of coronavirus amid concerns the outbreak is taking off faster than Sydney’s and will soon top 1,000 a day
The deputy chief health officer confirmed they were opening a series of new community vaccination centres in Hume, Dandenong and Casey, as well as opening up eight schools for jabs.
‘Those pop-ups will be available to students, staff, families of staff, families of students, and other local community members,’ Naomi Bromley said.
‘We will make it as easy as possible for people to access these hubs.’
They have also extended hours of the centres already running to being open for 12 hours as they look to vaccinate school staff and students before the end of year exams.
‘This will make vaccination much more accessible to people in those local communities. We’ve had lots and lots of people using that dedicated phone line to call up and make appointments,’ Ms Bromley said.
‘We know that many had already made appointments which is fantastic and many going to their local GP which is great If you have a Year 12 student or year 1 student doing 3 and 4VCR subjects, please, make a call, get a booking and get yourself vaccinated in time for your examine period.’
While more than 70 per cent of Saturday’s new cases were recorded in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, there were eight new cases in regional Victoria, including five in Geelong, one in Cohuna, one in Daylesford and one in Beveridge. The virus has also been detected in Ballarat wastewater.
Most of regional Victoria except Shepparton emerged from lockdown on Friday, with retail and hospitality allowed to reopen under strict rules.
Premier Dan Andrews appeared in Sunday’s daily Covid press conference, which was held at the same time as his New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, who announced she will no longer hold the daily meetings
But Mr Foley said there were no plans for a snap lockdown.
‘There’s no plans at this time to take such measures, but they are always informed by public health advice, and they will continue to be so,’ he said on Saturday.
‘All the decisions that public health officials take – and that the government supports – are based on public health advice.
‘And they of course look every day, every hour, at the patterns of transmission and the stories behind where the cases are.’
Shepparton is expected to be released from its lockdown next week, while people in Melbourne are waiting for the state government to announce its plans to ease restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews earlier said the government is waiting for detailed modelling from the Burnett Institute before making an announcement.