New government data shows Victoria has administered almost half of the country’s AstraZeneca vaccines, while New South Wales received more Pfizer doses through its primary health network in August than Victoria and Queensland combined.
The release of the data from Operation Covid Shield comes amid a fresh round of bickering between the states and the commonwealth over the national vaccine program, with allegations that the commonwealth has favoured NSW in the wake of its Delta outbreak.
After a pledge from Lt Gen John Frewen that the commonwealth would pursue a “transparency bias” for vaccination data, the department has released a detailed breakdown of how the Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been distributed through state and federal government channels since the rollout began in February.
The figures show the success of the Victorian government’s state-run clinics in administering AstraZeneca, with the state accounting for 824,000 AstraZeneca doses out of 1.8m nationally – about 45% of the total.
NSW, by contrast, has only administered 320,000 AstraZeneca doses through state clinics, about 17% of the total, and well below its population share of about 32%.
The figures show the other states roughly in line with their population share, with Queensland at 14%, Western Australia 11%, South Australia 8%, Tasmania at 3% and the Northern Territory and the ACT at 1%.
The federal government has previously criticised NSW for its low take-up of its AstraZeneca allocation, saying its unused allocation was being stockpiled or sent overseas.
Vaccine ordering rates – which show how much of what is offered is actually taken up – show that NSW has the lowest ordering rate for the AstraZeneca vaccine at just 26% of its allocation, compared with 77% for Victoria.
In Queensland, where the state’s chief health officer, Jeanette Young, has been critical of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the ordering rate is just 37%.
Q&AWhere can I get vaccinated in Australia?ShowThe majority of Australians aged 18 and over are now eligible for a Covid vaccination if they are willing to consider the AstraZeneca vaccine, and provided they do not have a history of specific health conditions.
In addition to the government’s official eligibility checker, which lists some clinics near your location which might have vaccination appointments available, there are a number of other helpful resources that can help you to find somewhere that has appointments open.
You can find our comprehensive guide to finding a vaccination appointment here.
Most of the nationally administered AstraZeneca vaccine has been through the commonwealth’s primary health network, with a total of 11.6m doses being distributed.
For the Pfizer vaccine, however, the figures paint a very different picture, with the order rates from the states ranging from 94% for South Australia and the Northern Territory to 100% for both Victoria and Queensland.
While Pfizer has been delivered to the states and territories for use in state-run hubs roughly in line with population share, the figures show huge discrepancies in the numbers sent through the commonwealth primary care network.
This includes GP practices, Aboriginal controlled health organisations, and commonwealth vaccination clinics, where vaccines are ordered directly from the commonwealth two weeks in advance of supply.
According to the data, NSW has received 1.15m doses of the total 2.7m delivered through this network since the rollout began, about 43% of the total, and more than Victoria (562,452) and Queensland (509,322) combined.
The figures show Western Australia has received 217,200, South Australia 127,140, Tasmania 36,210, the Northern Territory 31,914 and the ACT 36,270.
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The bulk of the extra doses to NSW were delivered in August, when the state received a total of 711,054 Pfizer jabs compared to just 308,610 in Victoria through the primary health network.
It is these doses to the GP network that sparked the ire of the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, this week, when he accused the commonwealth of having a “national plan to vaccinate Sydney” and striking a secret deal with NSW to direct more vaccines to the state.
“This was done without anyone knowing about it and they got caught out,” Andrews said on Tuesday.
Victoria Covid-19 update: Dan Andrews ‘didn’t sign up to national plan to vaccinate Sydney’ – videoThe government has defended the extra allocation to NSW, arguing that it brought forward some doses in response to the outbreak, and the state also benefited from an extra 530,000 doses secured under the Polish deal that did not detract from other states.
The figures show that in June, Victoria’s state clinics received more Pfizer doses than NSW, with 448,110 in the state, compared to 400,140 in NSW.
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Operation Covid Shield said that it had allocated additional doses to the NSW primary health network after the decision was made to bring on stream an extra 260 GP practices, and would do the same for other states this month.
“To balance the bring forwards to NSW, onboarding of primary care sites in other jurisdictions will be expedited across September to significantly increase points of presence for the Pfizer vaccine and additional doses will be provided to these sites,” a spokesperson said this week.
This will coincide with the arrival of extra Pfizer vaccines from the UK and Singapore deals, and the inclusion of Moderna vaccines into the program from the middle of this month.
The latest vaccination data shows there have been a total of 21,539,586 vaccine doses administered, with a daily increase of 294,000 on Tuesday.
This means that 39.7% of the eligible population over the age of 16 are now fully vaccinated, and 64.6% have received a single dose.