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Australia Covid vaccine rollout bungle sees jabs sent to GPs but no syringes

13:41  14 april  2021
13:41  14 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Scott Morrison et al. posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Australia's bungle-riddled coronavirus rollout has hit another hurdle with delays in the distribution of syringes needed to administer the jab.

GP clinics across Sydney have finally received their long-awaited doses to vaccinate patients but are being forced to use their own supply of syringes and needles.

One doctor claims she was told by the federal health department that it had 'run out' of syringes while another was told they were on backorder.

Bondi Junction-based Sapphire Family Medical Practice owner Dr Dasha Fielder says using their own supply of syringes isn't sustainable.

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a person posing for the camera: Bondi Junction GP Dasha Fielder (pictured) says her clinic has resorted to using their own syringes and needles for the coronavirus vaccination rollout © Provided by Daily Mail Bondi Junction GP Dasha Fielder (pictured) says her clinic has resorted to using their own syringes and needles for the coronavirus vaccination rollout

'We've been able to go ahead as planned this week, but if I don't have the needles and I don't have syringes - I can't administer the vaccine,' Dr Fielder told Seven News.

Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Danielle McMullen is among dozens of doctors affected by the supply shortage.

'This is very frustrating and while we can absorb this to a small degree we need to make sure it's not an ongoing problem and that it doesn't become widespread,' she told the Wentworth Courier.

General Practice Cremorne's Dr Ann Allsop added: 'It's pretty poor that we're expected to wear the shortfall in supply.'

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'With the first or second deliveries we can cope. But if it continues that's unreasonable.'

a person standing in a room: Australian Medical Association NSW president and Sydney GP Dr Danielle McMullen (pictured) described the problem as frustrating © Provided by Daily Mail Australian Medical Association NSW president and Sydney GP Dr Danielle McMullen (pictured) described the problem as frustrating a group of people around each other: Australia's coronavirus rollout has hit yet another bungle with a shortage of syringes and needles to administer the jab. Pictured is a Sydney woman being vaccinated in February © Provided by Daily Mail Australia's coronavirus rollout has hit yet another bungle with a shortage of syringes and needles to administer the jab. Pictured is a Sydney woman being vaccinated in February

The Department of Health confirmed it's aware that some clinics haven't received their consumable orders.

'These were on backorder, however, are now being filled as a priority and clinics should receive their orders shortly,' a spokeswoman said.

Doctors aged under-50 have also expressed concern about not being eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, unlike hospital doctors and other health care workers.

Australia's largest ever vaccination rollout has been riddled with one saga after another since the first patients rolled up their sleeves in February.

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Many GP clinics were still waiting for their doses one month later as phase 1B, the first large-scale rollout to the general public was launched.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced changes to get the vaccination rollout back on track. Pictured is nurse Maddison Williams being vaccinated © Provided by Daily Mail Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced changes to get the vaccination rollout back on track. Pictured is nurse Maddison Williams being vaccinated

More than 1,100 GPs clinics were listed on the federal government's health website at the time as being part of the next phase of the rollout, much to the shock of many doctors who were yet to receive a single does of the vaccine.

The roll out sparked a tsunami of calls to GP clinics from patients who were under the impression they would be able to immediately book in.

Mr Morrison announced earlier this week that two National Cabinet meetings will be held each week to get the rollout back on schedule.

He insists offering all Australians at least one shot of a vaccine by the end of this year remained a possibility.

'At this stage, there are too many uncertainties, I think, to commit to a timetable like that,' Mr Morrison said on Wednesday.

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'I would need, and the states would need to be sure, they could put those arrangements in place and ramp them up and to do that safely.'

a group of people wearing costumes: An international traveler carries their luggage into the Intercontinental Hotel on April 8 in Melbourne (pictured) - with harsh restrictions meaning most Aussies can't head abroad © Provided by Daily Mail An international traveler carries their luggage into the Intercontinental Hotel on April 8 in Melbourne (pictured) - with harsh restrictions meaning most Aussies can't head abroad

The federal government is copping significant flack over its decision to dump a vaccine rollout timetable after falling short of its initial targets.

Mr Morrison attributed the delays to three million doses failing to arrive from Europe and medical advice for people under 50 to avoid the AstraZeneca jab.

Originally the government had aimed to vaccinate four million Australians by the end of March, and managed just 400,000.

But there's now no guarantee borders will reopen after Australia's Covid vaccine rollout is complete, the federal government has warned, due to the unpredictability of the virus.

Australians have been locked in their own country in all but exceptional circumstances since the international border was slammed shut on March 20, 2020 - and there is no date nor a timeline for reopening.

a man wearing a blue shirt: Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits a vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne (pictured) but health minister Greg Hunt has since admitted jabs won't be enough to open borders © Provided by Daily Mail Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits a vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne (pictured) but health minister Greg Hunt has since admitted jabs won't be enough to open borders

The situation has been slammed by experts, business leaders and commentators, as well as stranded Australians abroad, who accused the government of 'shifting the goal posts'.

Not only does the closure stop Australians from going abroad for holidays or to visit families, but the ban has also left a multi-billion dollar hole in the economy - not to mention the tens of thousands of citizens unable to return home.

'Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up,' health minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday.

'If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn't just open the borders.

'We still have to look at a series of different factors: transmission, longevity [of vaccine protection] and the global impact - and those are factors which the world is learning about.'

The government's cautious approach was quickly lashed by business leaders and media commentators who said Australia has turned into a 'prison island'.

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