Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Our jabs go to Sydney
After failing to secure additional Pfizer vaccines from neighbouring states, the NSW Government has instead resorted to redirecting vaccines allocated to regional communities.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that vital doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be taken from regional NSW and given to those in Greater Sydney — particularly HSC students in south west and western Sydney.
Up to 40,000 doses of the vaccine will be redirected.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District would only confirm that ‘‘some’’ of its Pfizer doses would be reallocated, and could not provide an exact figure.
It did say the reallocation only affects clinics run by Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
In the days that have followed the government’s announcement, NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton said the impact is becoming clear.
She has received messages from frustrated constituents who have been advised their pre-booked vaccination appointments have been cancelled because of the decision.
In response, Mrs Dalton’s Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has launched a petition calling on ‘‘the New South Wales Government to equitably distribute COVID19 vaccines across the entirety of New South Wales’’ and particularly regional communities where ‘‘many of whom, such as frontline health and emergency services workers, aged, frail, infirm and vulnerable people living across regional New South Wales still await the opportunity to receive their first vaccination’’.
Mrs Dalton said more of a concern is that there has been no verbal or written confirmation when regional communities affected by the reallocation will be compensated.
‘‘What is this about?’’ asked an exasperated Mrs Dalton, who said she was not consulted, nor briefed on the Premier’s decision.
‘‘My heart goes out to them (Sydney HSC students), it really does, but the truth is if we have a COVID outbreak here (in Murray) our buckled health system will collapse. ‘‘Not when, not if, it will collapse. ‘‘Students have been learning online, they’ve implemented those systems.
‘‘Gladys Berejiklian has chosen a group of young, healthy people to receive the vaccine, when essential workers and at-risk groups in rural areas have yet to receive theirs.’’
Though AstraZeneca is plentiful in NSW, it has not been clinically tested for under 18s.
However, Pfizer has been tested on those 16 and older, which means it is currently the only vaccine available to HSC aged students.
The NSW Government has stressed that its decision to redirect Pfizer doses does not affect the Riverina’s supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
There will also be no impact to allocations to privately owned and operated clinics.
Australia has yet to increase its 2021 stockpile of the Pfizer vaccine, which stands at 40 million doses. It has, however, fasttracked delivery of those doses.
Weekly deliveries of Pfizer will soon be increased from between 300,000 and 350,000 to one million doses per week.
To sign the ‘Equitable distribution of and access to COVID-19 vaccines for the communities of regional NSW’ petition, go to