Shortland MP Pat Conroy has labelled the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in his electorate “an absolute debacle”.
The local member stated he’d been contacted by a number of older residents in the past week who were eligible to receive the serum but finding it almost impossible to make an appointment with a GP.
According to www.healthdirect.gov.au, there are just 11 medical practices in Shortland – which includes the suburbs of Belmont, Cardiff, Charlestown, Dudley, Eleebana, Gateshead, Redhead, Speers Point, Swansea, Valentine, Windale and more – distributing the vaccine.
Unfortunately, not all of them are taking new patients.
“John Hunter Hospital’s vaccine clinic is only vaccinating staff and frontline workers most at risk of contracting the coronavirus and is not open to the general public,” Mr Conroy said.
“On top of that, most of the medical practices I have spoken with told me they only had 80 [vaccine] doses this week and were hoping to increase that number to 100 next week.
“I’m not impressed.”
Mr Conroy said his electorate was one of the oldest in the country in terms of demographics.
“About 24,000 Shortland residents are over the age of 70 and are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B of the Morrison government’s rollout,” he explained.
“At the current rate, it will be between five and six months before older Australians in the electorate will receive their first shot.
“That’s the end of September.
“And, it doesn’t factor in second dosages and more people becoming eligible for the vaccine.
“This is a disgrace and extremely distressing for older Australians who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.”
Mr Conroy took aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who promised to have all Australians vaccinated by the end of October.
“He is clearly breaking that vow,” he said.
“Is it any wonder the Prime Minister’s own departments are now saying they don’t know when everyone will have been vaccinated.
“This government is all announcement and no delivery.
“Scott Morrison and his Health Minister Greg Hunt need to urgently get on top of the significant issues with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.”