Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected suggestions the nation’s vaccine rollout should be run differently as NSW continues to grapple with a devastating coronavirus outbreak.
As the battle to contain the virus continues, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly pleaded for more vaccines.
Appearing on The Project on Sunday night, Mr Morrison said it was clear that the lockdown in NSW was going to “take some time” but “suppression is the only way you can stop the virus”.
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NSW is dealing with more than 2000 cases of coronavirus, all linked to the highly infectious Delta strain which is causing havoc around the world.
Mr Morrison said it was clear the past tools Australia had used so well were no longer working as well.
“The testing and tracing defences we had in the past are not as effective now against this Delta strain,” he said.
“And that’s why the lockdown has become a more necessary tool. It’s supported by vaccines, and that’s why additional vaccines have already gone in.
“Vaccination protects you against future lockdowns. Once you’re in one, the only way through is to make sure it’s effective and it works and you prevent and stop the virus from moving forward, and that comes from people staying at home and following those instructions.”
The battle for enough vaccine supply across Australia is heating up, with The Project host Peter van Onselen questioning the PM “why you don’t just override the premiers and take them off them and put them into (western Sydney)”.
“I want to ask you why we’re not seeing more vaccines coming from other states. This population distribution doesn’t make sense,” van Onselen added.
“There’s been a lot of military comparisons. The bullets and the guns go where the battle is. We need the vaccines in southwest Sydney.
“Your premier is pleading for more. Why don’t we take them off states who have their borders shut and don’t have Covid?”
Mr Morrison rejected suggestions the vaccine rollout should be run on need rather than divided evenly.
“I say the battle is everywhere. No state or territory is immune from this Delta strain,” the PM said.
“We could have exactly the same situation presenting in Perth by the end of tomorrow, or we could have it in Brisbane or Far North Queensland and the vaccination program needs to work right across the whole country.
“It would be wrong to say that additional vaccines haven’t been pumped into New South Wales. Immediately, on the day I was asked for more, we provided 150,000 of both, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, unfortunately, none of the AstraZeneca was used.
“And the 150,000 provided, another 50,000 now provided, and it’s escalated by 90,000 a week and then 110,000 a week from the first week in August. So there’s more vaccines going in.”
Mr Morrison said taking doses from other states would “undermine the national vaccine program” but remained adamant NSW was getting more doses.
“We’re putting more vaccines into southwestern Sydney. Putting both more Pfizer and more AstraZeneca there,” he said.
“At the same time, we’re doing it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the system.
“It’s got everything to do with applying the vaccines across the country and as well as in southwestern Sydney.”