Topics: Arrival of one million Pfizer vaccines, vaccine rollout, visa cancellation
DAVID KOCH: Joining me now, Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews. Minister, where will these new doses be going? Is there a priority to send them to Sydney and Melbourne given their current situation?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, effectively, they’ll be distributed based on the population, so of the almost 1 million doses that came in last night, about 800,000 went into Sydney. 100,000 went in to Melbourne, and 100,000 went in to Perth. Now, the Sydney doses will be also distributed around the country. So, it is on a population basis so, I would encourage people that haven’t already registered online to jump online today and book their doses in.
DAVID KOCH: So, why are you sticking to that population formula, rather than where the largest need is?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, that’s obviously one of the issues we’ve had to grapple with as well, and there’s opportunities that we may be able to tweak that a little bit. We know that there are priority areas in Australia, but we do have reasonable levels of vaccines available, we have the Pfizer vaccine, we have the AstraZeneca vaccine that’s available, so the advice that we have is that we are able to support our major cities, but also our regional areas as well.
DAVID KOCH: So, are you saying the vaccines are all available, plenty there, but not enough people are getting them?
KAREN ANDREWS: I’m not saying that there’s plenty there, because we know that we are in the process of ramping up our supply, so almost a million doses of Pfizer came in last night, so we are increasing that, and if you want to look at another figure, in August it was anticipated that there would be 2.8 million doses, it is now expected there will be 4.5 million. So it is a significant ramp up.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, because the public has lost faith in you managing this, haven’t they? That’s reflected in the latest Newspoll, published in The Australian this morning. Federal Government has dropped to its lowest polling position this year, with a four-point shift in
the two-party preferred vote, 53-47 in favour of Labor. Meanwhile, Scott Morrison has had a two-point dip, but remains 18 points ahead of the Opposition Leader as preferred Prime Minister. Is this a reflection of the public saying that ‘you’ve got to get your act together, you’ve got to do it better’?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, I think that what the Australian people are saying is that they’re looking for the light at the end of the tunnel here. So, they’ll be prepared to go through what needs to happen to get to that point. I understand how people in Australia are feeling at the moment and yes, there’s been a lot of media about the vaccine rollout, but I think what people can do now is look positively towards the future that the vaccines are coming into the country, they are being produced here, and there is that light at the end of the tunnel. Now, has it gone perfectly? No one is saying that it has gone perfectly at all. But we are in a strong position; we do have the contracts; we did have the contracts with Pfizer, and we’re also manufacturing AstraZeneca here. I mean, that’s a pretty significant achievement.
DAVID KOCH: Yeah. You’ve sort of undermined its brand though. Hey, just quickly, controversial right-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins – I’d never heard of her – has had her Visa cancelled after boasting about breaking hotel quarantine laws. What led to that decision?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, can I also say, I hadn’t heard of her before and I don’t want to hear about her ever again. Basically, what she did was breach quarantine. She was out there boasting about what she’d done. It was an absolute slap in the face to people in Australia who have done some pretty hard yards. So, the Australian Border Force went in there, acted as quickly as we possible could to make sure that that visa was cancelled and she will be on her way out of the country very, very soon.
DAVID KOCH: Yep. Good work on that. Good riddance. Minister, thanks for joining us.
KAREN ANDREWS: Pleasure. Take care.