The row between the federal government and the states over delays in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has intensified with a furious Gladys Berejiklian unleashing on her Coalition colleagues in Canberra.
The NSW Premier had no hesitation pointing the finger when asked on Thursday about delays to nation’s vaccination program.
“The issue is misleading information provided by the Commonwealth,” she told the Seven Network.
NSW had been blindsided by an unexpected bulk delivery of the vaccines this week, she said.
“Last week, they told us we were getting 13,000 new doses. We got 45,000 and, of course, what you do is you need to plan ahead how many staff you need, how many online bookings you need to take,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Australia’s glacial COVID vaccine rollout is more than one million doses behind even the federal government’s most conservative projections.
Morrison government promises of four million jabs by “late March”, then “early April”, have come and gone.
Australia was meant to be closing in on two million vaccinations by now, according to projections from federal health department secretary Brendan Murphy.
Instead, the latest figures as of Wednesday were just 670,000.
Ms Berejiklian is fuming that data leaked to News Corp Australia showed NSW had administered only half the 190,000 doses it had received, implying the state was stockpiling doses.
“They put out these figures before we even had a chance to work out how we get doses out. That is not really a good way of managing this vaccine rollout,” she said.
“We need trust [with] everybody working on the same page.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt tried to strike a conciliatory tone, blaming “analysis … done by a particular journalist” for the row.
“We’re not frustrated or grumpy with any of the states or territories. We think they’re doing their job,” he told the Nine Network.
He insisted the Commonwealth’s approach was “to work constructively with the states”.
“All states and territories have been receiving doses in accordance with their 12-week plan … and have received doses entirely in accordance with that … other than on a couple of occasions,” he told Seven.
But Ms Berejiklian blamed federal ministers for the brouhaha and said NSW had done more than the Commonwealth towards the vaccine rollout.
“The federal ministers who put up the false information or that misleading information, really need to think about what that means for Australia,” she said.
“We are all keen, as the NSW government, to get on board and support the rollout. We are ready. We could do tens of thousands of shots every week to support the GP rollout.
“I hope the Commonwealth actually listens to us and agrees to let our support them otherwise we won’t get the deadline and it will take too long in Australia will fall behind the rest of the world.”