After months of boasting about his 'gold standard' pandemic response and insisting vaccine rollout was 'not a race', Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bowed to critics Photo: AFP/File
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Australian PM apologizes for slow vaccine rollout

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Australia's prime minister on Thursday apologized for the country's glacial vaccine rollout, as Sydney recorded a record jump in new coronavirus infections.

Scott Morrison is under fierce public pressure to improve a vaccination rate currently languishing around 11 percent, among the lowest rate of any rich nation.

After months of boasting about his "gold standard" pandemic response and insisting vaccine rollout was "not a race", Morrison bowed to critics.

"I'm sorry that we haven't been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year. Of course I am," he said. "I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we've had. Obviously, some things are within our control, some things that are not."

His comments came as authorities in locked-down Sydney warned residents to brace for a spike in infections and long-term restrictions.

The state of New South Wales reported 124 new cases, a record for a current outbreak that is spreading quickly across the vast country.

"I'm expecting case numbers to go up even higher," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned, citing the large proportion of people who were not isolating while infectious.

"I can't underscore what a serious situation we're in at the moment," she said, girding the city's five million residents for further bad news to come.

Sydney has been in lockdown for almost a month, but there seems little prospect of stay-at-home orders being lifted at the end of this month as planned.

The restrictions -- which have shuttered most shops, businesses and classrooms -- may have prevented a tidal wave of cases, but have so far failed to stop the outbreak.

"Until we have enough of our population fully vaccinated, we will be living with some level of restrictions and that will depend on how quickly we can overcome the severity of the current outbreak," said Berejiklian.

Some 18 months into the pandemic, adherence to the latest lockdown rules has been patchy and there is widespread anger at the government's response.

Australia bet heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is now only recommended for Australians over 60s because of blood clotting fears.

Health officials complain Australia is "awash" with AstraZeneca vaccine, while not expecting to get large supplies of the Pfizer vaccine much before the end of the year.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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This is an empty apology. Every single thing this guy does is about getting reelected. His political advisers have advised to do this as the best way to minimise his bad press and recent lower public support which are the lowest levels in a year in most recent poll because of this issue. The election which might have been this year will defintitley be delayed till next year when he is hoping the vaccinations will have caught up and people will have forgotten or forgiven him for the current mess,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I used the support the Liberals in Australia and was a member, but that was a long time ago. Everything they do now is just a cynical ploy to gain/stay in power. No different to Labor. And the party has plummeted to new depths under Morrison.

If he really wants to apologise, act. Retract the ban on using certain other medications demonstrated to be effective in preventing and treating this virus. It's not that hard.

But it won't happen, because this is not about protecting people or curing the sick. It's all about control. Craig Kelly was the only Liberal MP with the guts to speak up, and Morrison axed him.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

A man who avoids taking responsibility for anything. Only forced into this 'sorry' because even his allies in the Murdoch media are turning against him. We have a useable vaccine, manufacured in Australia, enough for everyone - AstraZeneca. But on the basis of a 1 in a million chance of under 40s (or is it 50s now? Or 60s? With the contrary advice being given out, it's hard to follow) dying from blood clots, he basically took it out to the back paddock and killed it. Now we're stuck with these outbreaks, and a population that's lost confidence in the vaccine they could have had already.

Also dragging his feet on improving Australia's quarantine facilities (a Commonwealth responsibility) and on aged care home conditions and pay for workers, which is where most of Australia's 900+ deaths have occurred. Sure, that wasn't all his fault. But not fixing it is. Just hopeless.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think they are going to be surprised when they find that the vaccines do not work well against new variants and some persons can get reinfected. There will also be a large percentage of vaccine holdouts. Perpetual lockdown.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

-I take responsibility...

So he has resigned and withdrawn from political life?

Oh no. Silly me. It was a political apology - entirely superficial.

The vaccines do seem to work well against new variants, but that won't stop regimes using Covid, even when it is downgraded to the level of flu, to place limits on travel and implementing back door ID systems with vaccine passports. The 'zero covid' policy of Australia/NZ will require long term isolation from the RotW. Other countries, quite possibly including Japan, may use it for a permanent block on international tourism/immigration. Unless you are rich of course. One rule for the rich, one for us proles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When you look at the UK, and see that those now being admitted to Hospital have already had their double-doses of the vaccination, you have to wonder... I know people who have had COVID without a vaccination, and did not suffer terrible symptoms.... so who benefits here...Big Pharma ? Time to invest in their Stock now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

RecklessToday  06:09 pm JST

I think they are going to be surprised when they find that the vaccines do not work well against new variants and some persons can get reinfected. There will also be a large percentage of vaccine holdouts. Perpetual lockdown.

I'd love to know where you get you facts that the vaccines don't work well against new variants. Pretty much the only variant in the UK is 'Delta', a new variant and the number of daily infections are about 45,000 a day. However the death rate (admittedly one is too many) is very low compared with the last peak (pre vaccine) when thousands were dying each day. The vaccines do not guarantee you will not catch COVID but it pretty much ensures you will not die unless you are very unlucky. I think that shows they are working.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

mmwkdwToday  11:14 pm JST

When you look at the UK, and see that those now being admitted to Hospital have already had their double-doses of the vaccination, you have to wonder... I know people who have had COVID without a vaccination, and did not suffer terrible symptoms

Yes the UK hospitalisation rate is rising but it is nowhere near the pre-vaccine figures when there were similar amounts of daily reported cases.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the vaccines do not work well against new variants and some persons can get reinfected.

The Pfizer vaccine is confirmed to give immunity to the Delta Variant.

And there will be people who get reinfected. That’s how it works with literally every vaccine since the Dawn of medicine. The difference is, the disease will be FAR less severe and less likely to, ya know, kill ya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the vaccines do not work well against new variants and some persons can get reinfected.

Well, some people were stupid enough to think that the vaccines were supposed to be 100% effective, even though they were told from the start the actual efficacy of the vaccines. None of the vaccines were claimed to have 100% efficacy.

I'm not going to look it up, but if I recall the pfizer was announced to have somewhere around 96% efficacy - which is EXTREMELY good. Yet, that leaves 4% still. 4% of a million people is 40,000 people. 4% of a billion people is 40 MILLION people.

We're seeing stories of these cases, and the morons who were too stupid to realize they were told up front that this would happen think they've found some sort of gotcha, and that this somehow proves the viruses don't work or aren't worth taking.

These kids weren't skipping grades in school. I think we all know that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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