Tasmania is prepared to step in and help with the national vaccine rollout, after Premier Peter Gutwein raised concerns with the federal government's COVID-19 vaccine delays and lack of communication for disability and aged care facilities.
Earlier this month, the federal government abandoned its target to give all Australians a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October. After medical authorities recommended people under the age of 50 get the Pfizer vaccine instead of AstraZeneca, because of rare links to blood clotting.
Australia was relying on AstraZeneca jabs through 50 million locally produced doses.
Mr Gutwein said the Apple Isle was the best performing state in the nation for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in state run clinics.
"We remain on track to achieve our targets under the first phase of the ongoing rollout," he said.
"However, I am concerned with the delays and lack of communication from the federal government about their rollout for residents and staff at disability and aged care residential facilities."
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After the announcement by medical authorities, Australia secured an additional 20 million Pfizer vaccines to bring the total to 40 million doses, which are due to arrive by the end of the year.
So far 1.4 million doses have been given to Australians, with 28,047 vaccines given as of April 15 to Tasmanians.
Mr Gutwein said Tasmania could not afford to go backwards with its vaccine rollout and raised concerns about the federal government's rollout for disability and aged care sectors.
"We are in a good place but we cannot afford to go backwards, and with the world's death toll from COVID-19 now over three million, it is absolutely imperative we get this right so we can return to a more normal way of living," he said.
"I will be raising these concerns at national cabinet [on Monday] as a matter of priority, including that the state is prepared to step in and assist the federal government with their rollout."
A spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government would continue to work with states and territories on the disability and aged care rollout.
"We will continue to work together to unite the nation to keep the vaccination programme safe, to get the rollout right, and to be open and transparent about how we are tracking," they said.
"We thank Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government and Premier for their fantastic work."
Greens health spokesperson Dr Rosalie Woodruff said the federal government was putting the safety of older, disabled Australians at high risk.
"We have real concerns the federal government has terribly mismanaged and failed older Tasmanians and people with a disability, and has dumped its plan to prioritise the COVID vaccine rollout," she said.
"We agree the state government should do everything it can to speed up the roll out of vaccines to high risk people. We would be seriously concerned, however, if Tasmania bears the financial costs for taking on the federal Liberals' job of vaccine roll out to the aged and disability care sectors.
"We shouldn't be paying for fixing the federal government's mess from our limited state health resources."
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