Australia

ScoMo accused of ‘hysterical’ vaccine claims

Scott Morrison has come under fire over Australia’s new coronavirus vaccine timeline which he unveiled just days after warning that fast-tracking the rollout would be “very dangerous”. Labor health spokesman Chris Bowen on Thursday welcomed the decision to bring forward the jabs to February following opposition pressure.But Mr Bowen called out the government for fearmongering…

Scott Morrison has come under fire over Australia’s new coronavirus vaccine timeline which he unveiled just days after warning that fast-tracking the rollout would be “very dangerous”.

Labor health spokesman Chris Bowen on Thursday welcomed the decision to bring forward the jabs to February following opposition pressure.

But Mr Bowen called out the government for fearmongering and casting doubt on the UK’s testing of vaccine batches.

“Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt have spent the last week hysterically claiming that bringing forward the rollout would risk Australians’ health,” Mr Bowen said.

“Yet the Government has now brought forward Australia’s vaccine rollout twice in two days: to early March yesterday, and to mid-late February today.”

The prime minister on Tuesday slammed the opposition for being “uninformed” after Labor raised concerns March was too long to wait for a vaccine.

“The suggestions that I’ve heard about trying to rush this process, I think can be very dangerous,” Mr Morrison told 3AW.

“If you look at the United Kingdom … They’re not testing batches of vaccines before they’re disseminated across the population.”

But on Thursday he was flanked by health authorities as he announced that vulnerable Australians, frontline healthcare and quarantine workers might get a jab as early as mid-February.

“We’ve been able to continue to bring forward that date,” Mr Morrison said.

“But I do put this very strong qualification, the data has to match up and the data has to meet the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.”

RELATED Scott Morrison says no rush on vaccine despite rollouts in UK, US

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said a coronavirus vaccine should be rolled out as soon as possible.

“It is good that the government has seen common sense, even though it was saying that call was ‘dangerous’ just a few days ago,” Mr Albanese told 2GB.

“The TGA was saying for some time that they expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine in January … there was never any reason for us to delay it until late March.”

But Mr Morrison said there had been no delays in the introduction of a vaccine.

“It is moving considerably faster than normal vaccination approval processes would occur in Australia but without skipping a step, without cutting a corner, ensuring that everything that needs to be ticked is ticked along the way,” he said.

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