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Byron Shire
January 19, 2022

Federal MP and rural Drs blast NSW Premier Berejiklian over Pfizer supplies

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Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that is sweeping NSW and other states in Australia the Lismore Women’s Festival has been cancelled.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photo ABC

The decision by NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian to redirect Pfizer supplies from the North Coast and other rural areas to Sydney has drawn separate criticism from local Federal MP Justine Elliot and Dr John Hall, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) .

‘I’m absolutely appalled that Gladys Berejiklian has decided to take our already limited supplies of Pfizer from the North Coast to Sydney,’ said Mrs Elliot.

The NSW government announced on July 28  that Pfizer vaccine doses would be taken from regional areas such as the North Coast and redirected to Year 12 students in eight Sydney local government areas where the outbreak is at its worst.

Dr John Hall, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA). Photo supplied

Dr Hall said that ‘it would leave rural communities to play catch up in case of a local outbreak.’

‘Most rural communities have already been waiting months for access to the Pfizer vaccine, with many vulnerable patients, health workers and other Priority 1A people still waiting for their first dose.

‘These are the very same people who will be at risk or called upon to provide care if there is an outbreak in a rural community,’ said Dr Hall.

‘To have their supply of Pfizer vaccines snatched from them so it can be made available to school students in Sydney is simply unacceptable.

‘It only takes one drive into the country to take Sydney out into the bush and we have already seen how the movement of essential workers has put rural people at risk.

We need to be proactive and preventative when planning the distribution of vaccines. Every time it is removed from a rural area, another community is left vulnerable,’ Dr Hall said.

Rollout failure

Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot. Photo supplied.

‘On top of Gladys Berejiklian’s failure to lock Sydney down earlier which has resulted in our region being plunged into even more chaos, we also have the failure of Scott Morrison to provide enough vaccines and his failure to deliver quarantine facilities,’ said Mrs Elliot.

‘I’m contacted every day by locals who are angry they have been told they have to wait months and months for even the possibility of Pfizer vaccines on the North Coast.

‘The supply to our region has been a complete debacle, and despite the constant lies by the Morrison Government and their agencies here on the North Coast there is virtually no Pfizer available here.

‘Now, our community is being told that any Pfizer we did have, or had been promised, is to be taken to Sydney. Our community has been left vulnerable again by Gladys Berejiklian, who has:

  • failed to lock down Sydney earlier
  • failed to designate a NSW border zone to protect us
  • failed to have adequate COVID compliance checks at Ballina airport
  • falied to give us timely information about local cases and exposure sites

‘The North Coast community again has to pay the price for Gladys Berejiklian’s failures. This situation is an absolute disgrace – we really are the forgotten people under this Liberal-National Government,’ she said.

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  1. We flew in to Ballina in the evening when Sydney was locking down outer Sydney. There was nobody at the airport to check on us. I phoned Ballina Council the next morning and was told that it wasn’t Council’s job to police the airport. So I phoned NSW Health and they said it was strange that nobody was checking incoming passengers. So no safety for we locals at the import and now our vaccine disappearing down to Sydney. Mask up and shut up indoors seems to be the only way for us too stay safe.

    We did self isolate at home for two weeks on our return. If only people would do the right thing!

  2. Well said Justine, but isn’t it a travesty that a Federal Labor MP. has to continually defend the far North Coast on both Federal and State issues and many thanks to Justine for doing such a great job. Nationals Tweed MP. Geoff Provest is completely out of his depth and seems to be totally wasted space, and as far as the rest of this corruption infested and incompetent NSW. Govt. and the self confessed rorting Premier, “Gold Standard Gladys”, is concerned; how are they possibly going to survive until March 2023 without sending NSW. into bankruptcy, both morally and financially.

  3. It is outrageous that our big talking marketing manager Scomo can’t even do 2 things well ie: quarantine & vaccines . He’s had over 18mths to address these 2 essential matters & has failed beyond comprehension. Rural regions should not have to forgo their vaccines because the Feds stuffed up badly. Other western nations have had a choice of 3 or 4 vaccines & home testing kits for the virus. Then we have Gladys waiting for transmissions to increase BEFORE she took action to call a lockdown. MUCH OF THIS MESS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF POLITICIANS HAD THEIR EYE ON THE BALL. STILL WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE COMING INTO THE COUNTRY EACH WEEK THAT AREN’T AUST CITIZENS ?? However, the media overall has left Gladys & Scomo off the hook. This level of ‘understanding ‘ (bias) was not afforded to Daniel Andrews & the Vict Govt. As Dr Norman Swan said medicine is about social welfare & not just taking temperatures & writing prescriptions. His current media roll has placed him under great pressure & Lord knows how medical front line staffers are handling their PTSD ? We should all be eternally grateful to them & obviously nurses are WORTHY of a pay increase 🙁

  4. Thank you Pauline,
    It is right-thinking and intelligent actions ,such as your’s that might get us through this plague.
    It is obviously foolhardy to expect any responsible government help, ….as always politicians are too busy saving their own skin and plotting ways to take advantage for their own advancement.
    It has been through the sensible citizen’s reactions, that we have managed so far , with enormous good luck , but Gladys’s ( we’re open for business madness ), Scotty’s ( missing in action ) and the various chief medical officers (opinions for hire , with Murphy’s 1.5 mtr. etc. Nonsense ) all doing nothing to help, with the only reliable information comming from ABC’s Norman Swan.
    Keep up the good work, G”)

  5. Berejiklian has no respect or care for people who live in, as she condescendingly calls our areas, “The Regions”. She is Premier of Greater Sydney only.
    Redirecting Pfizer away from country people to HSC students in a few hotspots in Sydney is an example of this, and is the thin end of the wedge. Soon, as more Sydney LGAs become hotspots (due to her mis-handling of this outbreak) I guess she’ll divert even more vaccines.
    I’m sure it wouldn’t cross her mind right now that the SE QLD outbreak might put northern NSW people at risk. She should have closed the QLD border by now, or at least have police in the north of the state stopping and checking all cars (and there are plenty of them) with QLD plates.

  6. I am not supporter of the NSW government. However, I am not opposed to moving vaccines where they are most needed and at this time that is to Sydney suburbs most affectedly Covid. As the World Health Organisation repeatedly insists, we should also be moving more vaccines and more help to our neighbouring countries because until all are safe none of us are safe.
    I also support that vaccines should be donated by other states that do not have the present threat level. As Bill Shorten wisely said, two wrongs don’t make a right. We rightly fear escape of Delta to the rest of the Country as it maybe impossible to prevent now without vaccine and within the resources of NSW Govt. alone. It was not for nothing that the highly respected Dr Chant described Sydneys outbreak as a national disaster.
    Lindy Stacker is mistaken if she thinks other nations offered a choice of vaccines. The UK for example did not. It offered appointments and gave people who turned up the vaccine that it was thought best fitted their medical records. Most of the UK residents got AZ and they now are streets ahead of us . Should QLD and Northern Rivers need more vaccines there is plenty of AZ available. QLDs Chief Medical Officer is way out of line now and way behind every other CMO. A teenager is more likely to die of Covid 19 Delta variant now than of a rare blood clot from AZ.
    if any politician is to blame it is the Federal Govt because they did not do right by their two jobs.

    • i’m with you lyn, berejiklian is between a rock and a hard place, and if the most populous state loses control, all of australia suffers… as the premiers in the other states are beginning to realise… rightly or wrongly, australia decided to follow the uk, and go with az, which has worked wonders in the old–dart, we should have pushed ahead with az, with it being produced locally, and would have had similar results to those in the uk, happy days… instead we find ourselves at the mercy of hesitancy and anti-vaxxers, when by now, we should have had the majority of australians vaccinated, and enjoying the coming of spring and overseas travels.


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