States row with PM over vaccine allocation

Scott Morrison has defended sending extra Pfizer doses to NSW after state premiers savaged secrecy surrounding vaccine distribution.

The prime minister’s home state received 45 per cent of the Pfizer doses distributed last month despite having 32 per cent of Australia’s population.

But Mr Morrison said the increase in NSW’s supplies was mainly drawn out of doses from Poland in a bid to deal with a spiralling outbreak.

He said the federal government rebuffed calls for the state to receive an increased allocation in June and July.

“I’ll tell you who said no to that, it was me. It wasn’t the states and territories,” Mr Morrison told Sky News.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews demanded a reckoning to balance the ledger and blasted “secret arrangements” around vaccines.

“Some don’t like to see this as a race, but a race it surely is. What I did not know was that (NSW) Premier Berejiklian is in a sprint while the rest of us are supposed to do some egg and spoon thing,” he said.

“No, we want our fair share. These allocations which are totally unfair and were under the table and need to stop.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Victoria and Queensland received extra doses during outbreaks and insisted the NSW boost was about saving lives.

“Others may be looking for conflict. Sometimes these things can be a little stage-managed,” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan also called for states that gave up doses for NSW to be repaid.

“We can’t have a situation where some states are punished for doing the right thing for NSW,” he told reporters in Perth.

Mr McGowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said criticism of their states’ rollout was unfair.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the doses would be repaid to states over the next four to six weeks, but criticised the federal government for attacking states with lower vaccination rates.

Australia has fully vaccinated 39 per cent of its population aged 16 and over while almost 64 per cent have received one dose.

NSW reported another 1220 local infections and eight deaths as authorities brace for a peak in numbers next week.

Victoria recorded 246 cases for a second consecutive day, equalling the highest increase of the outbreak, while there were 19 new cases in Canberra.


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