Vaccine rollout grinds to a halt after 34 jabs in two days


The State Government's COVID vaccine rollout grinds to halt each weekend, with all clinics closing on Sundays and just one staying open on a Saturday.

No jabs were administered at the 60 vaccine hubs controlled by Queensland Health on Sunday and just 34 were given on Saturday - compared to 690 over the weekend in Victoria and 396 in Western Australia.

The halting pace of the rollout comes despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk moving to "reassure Queenslanders" it was moving forward after unvaccinated frontline workers sparked a Brisbane-wide lockdown.

And it has led to urgent calls for clinics to open on weekends and criticism from a leading Queensland respiratory doctor who said many health workers tried to get immunised over the Easter break but could not find a state-run clinic.



Of the 60 vaccine hubs controlled by the Queensland Government, only the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital opens on a Saturday and all clinics are shut on Sundays.

Queensland Health vaccination data revealed zero jabs had been delivered by the state on Sunday, and just 34 were administered on Saturday.

By comparison, the Victorian Health Department yesterday revealed it had kept its state-run clinics open throughout the Easter long weekend to "ensure the program continues", administering 443 jabs on Sunday and 247 on Saturday.

In Western Australia, where clinics also remain open on the weekends, 396 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered across Saturday and Sunday.


Vaccine hubs controlled by Queensland Health didn’t administer any jabs last Sunday.
Vaccine hubs controlled by Queensland Health didn’t administer any jabs last Sunday.


According to Queensland Health the amount of vaccine supply from the Federal Government means its facilities can generally only operate on weekdays, but clinic opening hours may change as the rollout progresses.

But the state is still holding on to up to two weeks' worth of vaccine stock, despite being told by Australia's top medico and Health Minister Greg Hunt numerous times that the Commonwealth already holds contingency to ensure everyone receives a second dose.

Gold Coast respiratory clinic GP Dr Kat McLean took to Twitter to show her frustration at the lack of jabs over the weekend.

"I'm aware of so many 1a healthcare workers trying to source immunisation over the Easter break. Zero our state total administered," she said.

"GP clinics have opened and managed hundreds. We are trying.

"(Queensland) we must collectively improve access to immunisation."


Dr. Kat Mclean says access to the COVID vaccines must be improved.
Dr. Kat Mclean says access to the COVID vaccines must be improved.


Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates slammed the weekend closures, saying the problem of having unvaccinated staff on the frontline could have been avoided if the government had allowed jabs to be done on the weekend or after hours.

"We know that Queensland Health has got stock on hand, the Prime Minister has said we don't need to stock pile … just get on with it," she said.

Just last week, Ms Palaszczuk said "the rollout of the vaccine has been happening, so I just want to reassure Queenslanders about that" as she insisted it was on track and remaining healthcare workers would be vaccinated "over the next 48 hours".

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said "of course we would like to see the vaccination rolled out as quickly as possible but it does come down to supply", while Deputy Premier Steven Miles on March 31 marvelled at the US vaccinating "six million people in one weekend alone".

Meanwhile, GP clinics including Health Hub Morayfield opened their doors on Easter Monday to administer hundreds of doses.

"Because often people are needing to take elderly relatives or carers, (and if they are working) doing it on a holiday gives them the opportunity to bring relatives along," practice director Dr Evan Jones said.

Immunisation expert Dr Robert Booy said getting Australia's population vaccinated quickly required upping the supply of doses.

"I don't think this is a blame game, this is about … working hard together," he said.



Deputy Premier Steven Miles yesterday launched another attack on the federal government, claiming the latest Brisbane lockdown could have been avoided if a quarantine hub was up and running.

COVID-positive patients could be treated at the proposed Wellcamp quarantine hub instead of being taken to hospital if the much-talked about facility is given the go ahead.

The state government has confirmed that treating COVID-19 patients on site at the proposed hub in Toowoomba remains an option - instead of them being ferried to hospital.

"Unfortunately, we can't get a straight answer or even a statement of support in-principle out of the Commonwealth, out of Scott Morrison," Mr Miles claimed on Monday.

"That's what we need. In particular, we need their support to allow for repatriation flights to land at Toowoomba.

"If we got that go ahead when we first suggested this, we probably wouldn't have needed the lockdown last week."


Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the federal government should consider the proposed quarantine hub at Wellcamp. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the federal government should consider the proposed quarantine hub at Wellcamp. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle


A federal government spokesman said they were waiting for a "formal proposal" from the Queensland Government, which should include details on costings and how the state proposes to manage the health, security and safety implications of a quarantine facility in Toowoomba and the impact to the local community.

"This process is consistent with other bilateral agreements, such as in the Northern Territory for Howard Springs," he said.

All COVID patients detected in hotel quarantine in Queensland are currently being sent to hospital for treatment, instead of recovering at the hotel.

And on Sunday, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath revealed that the state government was considering sending COVID patients to just one hospital instead of spreading them across multiple following the Princess Alexandra Hospital clusters.

There were no community acquired COVID cases recorded in Queensland on Monday, while four cases were detected in hotel quarantine from overseas arrivals.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett described the latest case numbers as "pleasing", as she pointed out that testing rates had dropped on Sunday.

"I just want to remind people if you haven't already, please check the list of location exposure sites on the web and follow that advice," Dr Bennett said.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Prof Michael Kidd on Monday ruled out US-style mega-vaccine hubs in stadiums, saying there was "no need" for it as Australia's system of building a network of hospitals and GPs was "strong" and "effective".


Originally published as Vaccine rollout grinds to a halt after just 34 jabs in two days