Astrazeneca Stock – Misunderstanding behind missing NT AstraZeneca shipment at centre of blame game
A misunderstanding is being blamed for the Northern Territory’s first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines never arriving as expected, but health authorities insist the vaccine rollout remains on schedule.
- A misunderstanding is being blamed for vaccine rollout confusion
- Authorities say the NT vaccine rollout remains on schedule
- AstraZeneca vaccines are part of Phase 1B
The 1,440 vaccine doses were meant to arrive in the NT last week, according to announcements made by Chief Minister Michael Gunner in the lead-up to the expected delivery.
But by Sunday afternoon, the cargo was nowhere to be found in the NT.
The NT and Federal governments have since blamed each other for the missing shipment, with the Commonwealth on Sunday saying its territory counterpart never placed the vaccine order or nominated a delivery address.
At the same time, the NT government said the vaccines were intended for the aged care vaccine rollout, which is being coordinated by the federal government.
A spokeswoman for NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the delay was because of approval delays in the Commonwealth-funded clinic the vaccines were destined for — the Palmerston GP Superclinic.
Robyn Cahill, the CEO of that clinic, said it was a misunderstanding that the vaccines would have arrived at the clinic by now.
“And perhaps just misunderstood what the rollout was meant to be doing.”
AstraZeneca vaccines delivered as part of 1B
Ms Cahill’s clinic has a contract with the federal government to deliver vaccines as part of Phase 1B, which will immunise older Territorians, people with health conditions, disabilities, and some critical workers.
Phase 1B is due to start on March 22.
“There’s certainly been a lot of work done in that area over the past two to three weeks, and lots of discussion about the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those services,” she said.
Ms Cahill said the clinic is not involved in the Phase 1A aged care rollout, which is being managed by the Commonwealth and contractors Aspen Medical.
The clinic is expecting to receive AstraZeneca vaccines in time to be ready for the beginning of Phase 1B next week and has now received all necessary approvals to begin vaccinations on March 22.
“I was very excited on the weekend to sit in my office and push the button to put the order in for our first load of AstraZeneca vaccines, which we expect to arrive in the Territory at the end of this week,” she said.
A spokesperson from the federal Department of Health said the NT Government was allocated 1,400 AstraZeneca vaccines for use in NT government-run vaccination clinics, and it is up to the NT government to decide when to use them.
Rollout not impacted, NT government says
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the rollout of vaccines across the Territory would not be affected as it has enough Pfizer vaccines to immunise the 1A priority group, which includes quarantine and frontline workers.
“We were relying on the Pfizer which we’ve received that steady supply of.”
A spokesman from the Office of the Chief Minister said that announcements that were made around the supposed arrival of the first doses of AstraZeneca were based on information it was provided by the Commonwealth.
“Despite recent changes in dates from the Commonwealth around arrival of AstraZeneca in the Territory, all current advice indicates we will receive our first doses in time for our first planned use,” he said.
“The NT government has repeatedly been clear that it would not begin using the AstraZeneca vaccine until it commenced its part of the Phase 1B rollout — which is scheduled to begin from March 22.”