The Queensland government says it is taking smaller COVID-19 vaccine deliveries because more supplies are going directly to GPs.
The state government received 41,160 doses in the week ending April 25 and 24,570 doses the following week.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says the drop occurred because AstraZeneca doses, unsuitable for younger health workers, were returned to the federal government.
Official health advice is that Australians under the age of 50 should get the Pfizer vaccine over the AstraZeneca jab.
“So that’s why we saw a significant reduction,” Ms D’Ath told reporters on Friday.
“You will see a total reduction in our vaccines going forward because we are not getting AstraZeneca supplied to us over the next two weeks.”
She said a deal has been struck with the Commonwealth for AstraZeneca doses to be sent directly to Queensland GPs for the wider rollout.
“There is no less AstraZeneca coming into Queensland for Queenslanders,” Ms D’Ath said.
“It is coming in, it’s now going directly to GPs, instead of coming to the state government.”
Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates accused the government off passing the buck to GPs.
She said AstraZeneca doses would be better used in a mass vaccination hub run by the state government.
“The health minister is refusing to engage with the federal government who’ve put money on the table to establish mass vaccination hubs,” she said.
“Yvette D’Ath is too incompetent or incapable of working it all out.”
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said while Queensland Health was receiving fewer doses, the wider state will continue to receive 20 per cent of the federal government’s total vaccine supplies.
“We’ve been getting our fair share, every step along the way, we’ve been getting our population share of 20 per cent of the vaccines,” she said.
“I’ve had no concern about that.
“It’s just till now, there hasn’t been enough to get the amount we would all like to get, but that’s true for every single state and territory, and the Commonwealth is sending it out as quickly as they can.”
Meanwhile, the vaccine drive will resume in the Torres Strait on Monday more than a month after it was paused on April 16.
The state government halted the vaccine drive there amid concerns about giving the region’s younger population the AZ vaccine.
However, supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived and the rollout will continue.
Queensland reported no new cases of coronavirus in the state in the past 24 hours.
Australian Associated Press