Scott Morrison says he CANNOT guarantee Australia will be open before Christmas as he admits he should have ordered more Pfizer shots last year and insists ‘no country does everything right’
- 16.7% of Aussies over the age of 16 are fully stung, compared to 71.1% of eligible Brits
- Australia ordered just 10 million Pfizer shots last year, less than other countries
- Morrison admitted Thursday morning that ‘no country does everything right’
- He also said he could not guarantee the lockdowns in Australia would end before Christmas
Scott Morrison has said he cannot guarantee Australians will live free by Christmas and has admitted he should have ordered more Pfizer vaccines last year.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the prime minister said “lockdowns will be a thing of the past” when enough people are vaccinated and hoped Australians “will live differently at Christmas”.
But on Thursday morning, Mr Morrison warned that he cannot guarantee that lockdowns will not be necessary next year to contain the spread of Covid-19.
During a radio interview, 3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell asked: ‘Do you think you can guarantee that we will be open by the end of the year?
“No one can give those guarantees, Neil, because the virus is unpredictable,” the Prime Minister replied.
Earlier, Mr Morrison told the Today show that the highly contagious Delta strain of the virus, which broke out in India in April, requires stricter restrictions than previous strains to fight.
“The Delta strain is incredibly virulent and there is no country in the world that doesn’t struggle,” he said.
“Countries all over the world are struggling with this and we have learned a lot in recent weeks.
“Where the Delta species strikes, you have to act fast and we have to take that and move forward as quickly as possible.”
During his morning media blitz, Mr Morrison was also keen on the slow rollout of the vaccine and admitted he had made mistakes.
Morrison warned that he cannot guarantee that lockdowns will not be necessary next year to control the spread of Covid-19. Pictured: Police patrol Bondi Beach during lockdown
Only 16.7 percent of Australians over the age of 16 are fully stung, compared to 71.1 percent of eligible Brits, 65.2 percent of eligible Canadians and 49.4 percent of eligible Americans .
The rollout has been hampered by delivery delays and changing health advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine, prompting government efforts to bring in more Pfizer shots.
In July 2020, the US ordered 200 million doses of Pfizer, the UK 90 million and Canada 20 million.
But Australia didn’t order one until November, when it asked for just 10 million doses of the highly effective jab.
In April, the government increased the order to 20 million and doubled it to 40 million in June – but critics say this amount should have been ordered much earlier.
When asked if the government had closed a deal soon enough, Morrison told Sunrise host Natalie Barr: “We went from 10 million to 20 million to 40 million… now it’s about getting the job done.
Only 16.7 percent of Australians over the age of 16 are fully stung, compared to 71.1 percent of eligible Brits. Pictured: Queues at the Homebush Vaccination Center in Sydney
“Very late,” she said before admitting Morrison: “No country gets everything right and the vaccination program is reaching the points we need now.
“We just need to focus forward and get this job done, Nat,” he said.
On July 9, the Prime Minister announced a four-step plan to bring Australia back to normal, with each step to start when vaccination coverage reaches a certain percentage.
The required percentages have been calculated by model experts from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and handed over to the government.
They will be discussed in the National Cabinet on Friday and are expected to be released publicly early next month.
What are the four stages of opening?
1. Vaccinate, Prepare and Trial (from July 14)
Arrival caps halved to 3,035 per week; lockdowns and state border closures as a last resort; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals; medicare vaccination certificates available in apps like Apple Wallet
2. Post-vaccination phase (when a still unannounced percentage of Aussies are stung, expected early next year)
No lockdowns or state borders except in ‘extreme circumstances’; limits for unvaccinated arrivals doubled to 6,070; home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals; limited entry for students and economic visa holders
3. Consolidation phase (date not disclosed)
Removal of all outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers; no limits for vaccinated arrivals; vaccinated people exempt from domestic restrictions; increased limits for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles arise with countries like Singapore; booster shots rolled out
4. Final phase (date unknown)
Unlimited arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and unlimited arrivals for unvaccinated people with pre-departure and on-arrival testing