Senate debates

Thursday, 12 August 2021


COVID-19: Vaccination; Consideration

3:56 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I want to make a couple of remarks on document No. 5 listed on the Notice Paper. I just want to put on the record today an emerging concern with regard to the vaccination. We've seen the Prime Minister, in his failed leadership of the country, perpetrate a lot of blame of vaccine companies and advisory bodies for the states, and we see an escalation of lockdowns and deaths and illness.

I want to draw particular attention to one of the major concerns I have right now, and that is that breastfeeding women cannot access the vaccine that they currently need, because they are actually ineligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the government have left these women off any priority list. I seek to raise this today because who knows what could happen with everybody in lockdown and the potential that we might not be back here for an extended period of time? I want to take this opportunity, as it might be the last time that I get to raise this concern: breastfeeding women need access. They need to be made a priority to be able to get the vaccine that is recommended for them. I urge all my sisters on the other side of the benches here to make sure that women's particular needs with regard to vaccine access are given a greater priority by this government, because they seem to have been overlooked.

I also note that, at the moment, only 10 per cent of Indigenous men and women have accessed the vaccines and we are in a situation where the explosion of the illness into rural New South Wales—in Walgett, Bathurst, Dubbo, Bourke, Bogan, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine and Warren—means that the Aboriginal communities that are so significant in those communities are particularly vulnerable at this time. Mr President, thank you very much for your indulgence in allowing me to put that on the record. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.


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