Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Prime Minister

3:53 pm

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I think the Australian people, after listening to that contribution, would be thanking their lucky stars that those opposite are not on the government benches through this terribly challenging time for Australia. The memory of those opposite is extraordinarily poor. The ability to be constructive during one of the biggest challenges that has faced this nation in generations is absent. What do we hear from the other side, apart from carping and negativity? Crickets. Absolutely nothing.

They talk about what is happening in the rest of the world in places where the vaccine rollouts are further advanced than Australia's. We are happy to acknowledge, as a government, that there are countries around the world that have vaccine rollouts further advanced than Australia's. But let's just stand back for a moment and look at what is happening in some of those countries. The US, whose vaccine rollout has been lauded by some of those opposite, are currently detecting 100,000 cases a day. Senator O'Neill talked extensively about the AstraZeneca vaccine and its use in the United Kingdom. The UK is getting 20,000 to 30,000 cases per day. It is an absolutely extraordinary idea that the Labor Party is putting forward.

I will agree with one thing that Senator O'Neill said, and that is that the AstraZeneca is a very good, high-quality vaccine, and I would absolutely encourage everyone out there to talk to their doctor or talk to a medical professional about getting advice on getting the AstraZeneca vaccine, if it is available to them. It is a high-quality vaccine and it adds to the repertoire that we have available to us here in Australia, thanks to the methodical approach taken by the Morrison government—the approach led by the health advice. Did that approach face some challenges? Absolutely, and we've been upfront with the Australian people about that. Did it face some challenges? Yes. ATAGI did change their advice in terms of age groups as to AstraZeneca. They changed their advice twice, in actual fact. That did reduce the number of people who could access that vaccine at that time, and there was a perception issue around that as well. As I've said in this place before, I myself was caught up in that. I was registered to get an AstraZeneca vaccine. The health advice changed. My vaccine was changed to a Pfizer vaccine. Obviously that did cause some issues. There was also an issue of some deliveries of vaccines from Italy, I believe, earlier last year, which slowed down the availability of doses.

But what the Labor Party completely fails to now take into account is what is happening on the ground as we speak. Looking at March this year, there were 770,000 vaccines administered; in April, 1.4 million; in May, 2.1 million; in June, 3.4 million; and, in July, 4.5 million. The Australian people can see what this government is delivering, and that is an accelerating vaccine program. Just in the last few days—I think this was the number from Monday, from memory—there has been a daily increase in doses of 234,899 doses. So there has been a daily increase of almost 235,000 doses. And now we have added to the repertoire of vaccines available in Australia. Very shortly, we will have the Moderna vaccine available in Australia. Obviously, that adds another string to our bow in facing this virus.

The Moderna vaccination is a two-dose vaccine, with the doses delivered four weeks apart. The gap is shorter than the gap between AstraZeneca doses, and that does help to speed up the rollout of the vaccines across Australia. Ten million doses of Moderna will be in Australia by the end of this year. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see what that will add to the vaccination rollout in this country. We're going to see a million doses arrive in September, and they will go to pharmacies across the country. Then there will be three million in October, three million in November and three million in December. The Moderna vaccine is safe and effective. Again, this is a message to all Australians out there who are listening and who haven't yet registered to encourage them to get along. It has been approved for use in Britain, Canada, the European Union, the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.

Over 140 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in the United States already, so we've got a very large body of evidence we have been able to draw on when assessing these vaccines. They are 93 per cent effective after six months—


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