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 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.
‘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.