Senate debates

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

3:09 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services) Share this | Hansard source

As I said on radio this morning and as I said in answer to the two questions that I've been asked today, the objective of the government is that all Australians who want to have a vaccine should have the opportunity to have a vaccine this year. That's the objective of the government. As we have more vaccine available, we will increase the availability to more people in Australia to get the vaccine. We started with phase 1a in February and then phase 1b in March, and we've continued to expand the rollout as we've had more vaccine available. The availability of vaccine has always been the constraint in the context of the rollout and, of course, the rollout has also been guided by the medical advice. The medical advice with respect to the AstraZeneca vaccine, where there's a requirement for a 12-week gap between the two doses, has had an impact on the process and the timing of the vaccine rollout.

If Labor were honest and hadn't spent all of their time trying to undermine the confidence in the vaccine rollout, they would acknowledge that. They would acknowledge that the availability of vaccine, the medical requirements and the advice of the health professionals, all of which have guided the vaccine rollout, have had an impact on the vaccine rollout all of the way through. As we've had more vaccine available, we've made it available to Australians, and we have taken the advice of the medical and health experts in the application of the vaccine all of the way through. That has required some resets in the context of the vaccination rollout, and we've been quite open and honest with the Australian people about that as those circumstances have arisen. But the Labor Party have not been honest. (Time expired)


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