EXCLUSIVE: How a bizarre Medicare blooper means you may need THREE Covid shots to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ by the Australian government – in ANOTHER rollout blunder
- A flaw in vaccine rollout encourages Australians to get a third Covid shot
- Official vaccine document tells injection recipients they are not fully vaccinated
- The mistake is for Australians who received one AZ and one Pfizer vaccine
- Northern Territory owner Rick Mooney mistakenly received mixed doses
- The government refused to change his vaccination status until he got a third
A flaw in the Australian vaccine rollout is inadvertently forcing people to receive three Covid injections – otherwise they will not be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ by the Australian government.
In the latest gaffe to plague the Australian vaccination program, Medicare tells some Australians who have already been stung twice that they have not completed their immunization course.
Northern Territory company owner Rick Mooney got his first AstraZeneca shot in April but accidentally got Pfizer as his second shot in June.
Despite receiving two Covid injections and growing evidence from abroad that ‘mixing’ vaccines produces a strong immune response, Mr Mooney’s official statement in the Australian Immunization Register (AIR) reads: ‘This person *does not* have received all required Covid-19 vaccines’.
The 59-year-old called health officials, who told him he would not need another shot. But the government still refused to change his certificate to confirm that he was fully vaccinated.
Mr Mooney then went out and got a second dose of Pfizer this week because “it was the only way to get a vaccination certificate.”
Rick Mooney was given an AstraZeneca vaccine and a Pfizer shot and had to get a third dose so his vaccine certificate would say he was fully immunized
Mooney’s immunization record didn’t say he got all of his vaccines until he got two injections of Pfizer
“My big problem is that I really have to solve that certificate because at some point in the future we may have to present that for something,” Mr Mooney told the Daily Mail Australia.
The Arnhem Land man suggested that he may soon be required to provide proof of vaccination for work or to travel to remote parts of the territory vulnerable to Covid outbreaks.
“I run a business – I wanted that resolved,” said Mr Mooney. The registry did not state that Mr Mooney was fully vaccinated until after he received his third dose of vaccine on Thursday.
His concerns are well founded. Several European countries require citizens to show that they are fully vaccinated or have received a negative Covid test in order to access services.
In France, residents are required to show their Covid ‘green pass’ before entering cinemas, theatres, museums and theme parks. Denmark and some German states have the same rules for restaurants.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also suggested that ‘vaccine passports’ could allow fully vaccinated people to travel to states with border restrictions.
Sydney man Tom Lee, 34, was given four doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca because he “wanted to have as many antibodies against the coronavirus as possible”.
He is probably the most vaccinated man in the country. But in early June, Mr Lee’s immunization statement also stated that he had only been partially vaccinated.
At that point, he had each received one dose of AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Vaccine ‘certificates’ issued by the Australian Immunization Register say Australians who received two different shots ‘NOT’ received all their required doses
Tom Lee got his fourth Covid vaccine on Monday afternoon after doubling down on double doses of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots – and he’s only 34
“The Vax registry only recognizes two of the same vaccine as the ‘this person is fully vaccinated’ trigger,” he said. “So I needed the third shot to tick that box.”
Services Australia, the government agency that manages both the Australian Immunization Register and Medicare, said it followed health advice that two injections of one vaccine means a person has been fully vaccinated.
“The rules for displaying a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status, as set out in the AIR, reflect the policy advice of the Department of Health,” general manager Hank Jongen said in a statement.
“The partial status indicates that the individual has not received two doses of the same vaccine.
“After a person has received two doses of the same vaccine within the required time… their COVID-19 immunization status will change and show up as ‘up to date’.
Experts have suggested that Australians who have been given AstraZeneca may receive a booster shot of an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer, in the future.
How did Sydney man Tom Lee, 34, get four Covid-19 vaccinations?
By Kevin Airs with Daniel Piotrowski
‘Anti-body maxxer’ Tom Lee
A young Sydneysider brutally got himself fully vaccinated against Covid with two different shots, despite being only 34 and not working in an essential sector.
Tom Lee insists he didn’t jump in line for his jabs and only queued to wait his turn at vaccine hubs to complete what he calls his “antibody maxxing.”
The Pfizer vaccine, at this stage of its rollout in Australia, will only be available to people over 40 or those working in critical sectors such as hotel quarantine, while AstraZeneca will be offered to anyone who wants it.
But instead of waiting the predicted three months for younger Aussies to get the Pfizer shot, Mr. Lee simply showed up at a vaccine center at the end of a day and tried his luck.
Mr Lee said the doses would have ended up in the bin if he hadn’t taken one – and took to… harass the super-infectious Delta variant on Twitter. “If the Delta variant wants to test its strength, it has to come to greater Sydney.”
Lee told the Daily Mail Australia that NSW Health’s vaccination centers are not wasting ‘time checking people’s vaccination histories’, nor did he tell staff that he had previously been given AstraZeneca.
“They (NSW Health) have a very tight ship. They try to vaccinate the entire population, and they don’t burden themselves with unnecessary paperwork.’
In 2011, Mr Lee traveled to Libya to learn to become a war correspondent during the civil war there and boasted to the Sydney Morning Herald that he had seen the corpse of murdered despot Muammar Gaddafi.