Australian COVID-19 vaccine rollout a "phenomenal failure": Former PM

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Representative Image
Representative Image

Canberra [Australia], July 2 (ANI/Xinhua): Former Australian Prime Minister (PM) Malcolm Turnbull has described the country's coronavirus vaccine rollout as a "failure of public administration."

Turnbull, who served as PM from 2015 to 2018, on Thursday said the vaccination program has been a "phenomenal failure", saying that Australia was "way behind" comparable countries.

"I can't think of a bigger black and white failure of public administration than this," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.

"Governments make lots of mistakes of course, as we all do, but this is something that was very doable."

As of Friday, there had been 7.97 million coronavirus vaccines administered in Australia and about eight percent of the adult population had been fully vaccinated.

Despite the slow start to the rollout, the government insists that the program is on track and every adult who wants a vaccine will receive at least one dose by the end of 2021.

Turnbull, who retired from politics after being deposed by incumbent PM Scott Morrison in August 2018, also criticized the mixed messaging from federal and state governments around the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

Health authorities have rejected Morrison's move to open the AZ vaccine to anyone under the age of 40 against the advice of the expert panel on immunizations.

"It's mind-boggling. I mean, vaccine hesitancy is a problem everywhere and at every time, it is as though governments are trying to do their utmost to maximize it at the moment with all of the disagreements and confusion," Turnbull said. "It's a mess."

"But the fact that you've got so many other premiers and chief medical officers disagreeing with it, and very vocally, obviously undermines confidence in the vaccine." (ANI/Xinhua)

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