Ok, here’s a brief timeline of events in the vaccine rollout.
August 2020: Scott Morrison announces that Australia has secured 25 million doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccines and that it would mean “early access” for all Australians. The vaccines would be “as mandatory as you could possibly make it.”
October 2020: Morrison announces that we’ve secured two more deals, one with Novavax for 40 million doses and another with Pfizer for 10 million, telling us “By securing multiple COVID-19 vaccines we are giving Australians the best shot at early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful.” He followed by talking about how we weren’t putting all our eggs in one basket…” (Presumably that was about the vaccines and not how labour-intensive it was for Jen who needed to take multiple trips now that he’d built the chook shed.)
November 2020: Announcements that the government is working with states to work out how vaccines will be delivered once they are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The vaccines will be free but not mandatory.
December 2020: Morrison tells us that even though, Pfizer has been approved overseas, it won’t be available here until health experts are 100% sure that it’s safe. (Given no vaccine is 100% safe, we have to admit that he warned us that it wouldn’t be available here!)
January 1st 2021: Despite outbreaks in Sydney and other places, vaccines will not be rushed. Morrison announces: “On the vaccine, you don’t rush the [rollout]. That’s very dangerous for Australians. Those who suggest that, I think it’s a naïve suggestion.” We will start rollout in March as planned so that we can look at how it’s going overseas and learn from that.
January 7th, 2021: Rollout brought forward to mid to late February and it’s “hoped” that we could start with about 80,000 a week.
February 2021: Morrison receives one of the first jabs of Pfizer to “show it’s safe”. This rollout will eliminate the need for more extreme measures.
Early March 2021: 250,000 Astra Zeneca doses held up by Italy and EU. Minister Hunt tells us that this won’t affect rollout.
Late March 2021: Morrison announces that the vaccine rollout is back on target. Hunt announces that they’re ahead of target and they’re under-promising and over-delivering. Suggestions that states are “hoarding” vaccines.
End of March 2021: #ScottyFromAnnouncements tells us that it’s not a race, after we fall 3.4 million short of the target to have 4 million vaccinated by the end of March.
April 2021: Astra Zeneca halted for under 50s. Morrison and Brendan Murphy assure us that there are enough Pfizer doses to inoculate all adults by… some time in the future. Probably we’ll all have one by the end of the year… if we want one. Remember, it’s not a race.
April 9th: Morrison announces that we’ve secured another 20 million Pfizer doses to go with the billions of vaccines that we secured last year making it a certainty that we can all have at least one dose by Christmas when he’ll be bringing home all the Australians from overseas… He never said which Christmas you know.
April 11th: Morrison abandons target to have all Australians vaccinated by the end of the year.
May 2021: There is no target but we’ll probably all have at least one dose and we’re moving past Phase 1A which isn’t complete and Phase 1B which is also not complete and all those over 50 and Jane Norman can get vaccinated in early May
May 2021: Government suggesting that vaccine hesitancy is delaying the rollout. People should go and get vaccinated as it’s completely safe for most people over fifty but it’s too risky for those under 50, but there’s no risk for those who are eligible.
May 2021: Greg Hunt suggests that if you’re concerned about the available vaccine you can wait and get an unavailable vaccine. This is later clarified by the announcement that you may not be able to get the unavailable vaccine later because it will go to under 50s first, but we’re still on track even though we no longer have a track to be on.
May 2021: Morrison blames media for creating vaccine hesitancy and confusion by reporting what he and his ministers are saying.
June 2021: Scotty announces a multimillion-dollar campaign to urge people to take up the Astra Zeneca offer. Contract is given to Clive Palmer who, we’re told, has a history of being able to convince people via effective advertising. Craig Kelly will be the face of the campaign. Morrison holds a press conference to announce that the program is a success and that the borders will be opening so that he can go to Hawaii. “I haven’t had a holiday for almost three months,” he tells reporters, “and I promised Jen and the girls that we’d be going so I’ll see you when the weather fines up.”
July 2021: Morrison returns from Hawaii to announce election date.
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