Tuesday 27 July 2021 1:29 pm

Former PM calls Australia's vaccine rollout a 'colossal failure'

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the Australian government’s vaccine rollout as “the biggest failure of public administration” he can recall to date.

Speaking to the BBC, Turnbull said the Australian government failed to secure enough Covid-19 vaccinations: “It was a colossal failure, and the problem is you can’t wind the clock back and fix what should have been done last year.”

They did, he says, stock a plentiful supply of AstraZeneca, though hesitancy around the safety of this vaccine has caused further problems in the roll-out. He goes on to warn of repercussions to come. The slow rate at which alternative vaccines are being introduced may not be enough to take the country out of lockdown before 2022.


The country’s vaccine roll-out took another hit when Novavax, one of the federal government’s key vaccine deals, encountered major delays. The 51 million doses originally intended to arrive in the second half of this year are now not expected until 2022.

 The Guardian reported that the production delay was due to lingering supply chain issues.

John Skeritt, A deputy secretary from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), said at a committee meeting on Friday that the issues in question have prevented the organisation from running a full slate of safety tests and trials. Until the firm provides its full set of in-house information and manufacturing figures, the jab cannot be approved for local use.

With Novavax constraints becoming evident, the federal government’s vaccine ‘horizons’ document no longer suggests doses will come online this year. Australian health authorities have turned their focus to securing additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

According to Business Insider Australia, the Moderna vaccine is also a step closer to approval. The Australian health department plans to phase out AstraZeneca as the go-to jab.