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NSW Health Minister likens race to secure COVID-19 vaccines to ‘The Hunger Games’

Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout has been likened to ‘The Hunger Games’ with states desperate for increased supplies to bolster jab rates further. On Monday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard used the popular series of dystopian books and movies to describe the immunization program.

“It is almost a sense now of ‘The Hunger Games, of people chasing vaccine,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday. “Until we get enough vaccine and enough GPs actually at the front line able to provide that vaccine into arms, we will continue to have effectively The Hunger Games going on here in NSW.” With AstraZeneca only recommended for people over 60, limited Pfizer supplies prevent the rollout’s immediate expansion.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt believes a record week of doses being administered strongly indicates the rollout can gather momentum. “With vaccines, it is the most competitive global environment imaginable,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

COVID-19 vaccines

In July, the federal government expects to deliver 682,000 Pfizer doses to NSW, up from 400,000 in June.

Queensland is slated to increase almost 200,000 to 430,000 doses in July.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.


Almost 140,000 people have registered to receive a Pfizer jab in the sunshine state, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned it could be October or November before shots were administered.

“That is when all the supply comes in from the federal government,” she said.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Mr. Hazzard’s description was apt as he criticized the federal government.

“They are responsible for the supply of vaccines, for rollout in aged care, responsible for the COVID-19 safe app,” he told reporters in Toowoomba.

“Everything they have had responsibility for has been botched.”

Australia will receive 40 million Pfizer doses and 10 million of the yet-to-be-approved Moderna vaccine this year.

While just 9.1 percent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated, Mr. Hunt pointed to an “incredible result” of 880,000 doses in the past week.

“That shows the distribution system is working. It’s a global challenge. Australia is part of it,” he said.

Victoria’s COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar described restricted vaccine supply as hugely frustrating and the reason why the state hadn’t extended its rollout to under-40s.

But he stopped short of Mr. Hazzard’s reference to a contest to the death.

“We’re not using bows and arrows yet, so that I wouldn’t go there immediately,” he told reporters.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has identified an 80 percent vaccination rate to reopen international borders, while business leaders want firm targets for reopening.

Scientific modeling is underway to determine vaccine thresholds under a four-stage plan to end lockdowns and border restrictions. The medicines regulator is also considering an application from Pfizer to have its vaccine used in 12 to 15-year-olds amid concern about the highly contagious Delta variant.

Mr. Hunt said on Monday he didn’t want to pre-empt a decision from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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