Morrison: I don’t hold the syringe, mate

More lies and drivel from Prime Minister Morrison yesterday. As usual, he doesn’t hold the hose, mate. Even when he does:

“I want to stress that at no time yesterday did I make any comment about the actions of the European Union, nor did I indicate any of the background reasons for the lack of supply that we have received from those contracted doses.”

“I simply stated a fact – that 3.1 million of the contracted vaccines that we had been relying upon in early January when we’d set out a series of targets did not turn up in Australia. That is just a simple fact.”

Not that Europe will care much, but I welcome it to the club of humans that have been gaslighted by the personality disordered Australian prime minister. The BBC has a balanced take on the blame game. Morrison does not fare well.

There is another fact about vaccine procurement that the PM did not mention and it is this. He bet all of Australia’s vaccine chips on red. As things transpired, the vaccine roulette wheel came up black and Australia lost.

The question is not why or whether Europe is withholding the vaccine. It is why did the Morrison Government punt the Australian national interest on just one vaccine, the Astra Zeneca version? Why did it not use procurement policy to make an each-way bet on multiple vaccines amid such uncertain conditions?

That’s what Canada did and it’s worked. It has suspended its AZ rollout to under-55s amid scandals surrounding links to thrombosis. But it has been able to continue the rollout uninterrupted because it diversified its purchases through a risk-managed procurement policy that included Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen:

On the other hand, the Morrison Government went all-in on the cheapest available vaccine, and now it has no scope to offset AZ problems in health and production with alternatives. And they are multiplying. As well as shortages, Britain last night recommended under-30s NOT take the AZ vaccine owing to thrombosis risk and opt for alternatives, which it has plenty of.  Local vaccine hesitancy is already on the rise and Morrison bumbling on all fronts is making it worse.

We still don’t even know when other vaccines, like more Pfizer (of which we got enough for a few nurses and the PM to get a shot) or Novavaxx will arrive. And there is no deal to get our hands on the wonderous single shot, room-temperature stored, J&J version.

At the time that the Morrison Government announced the virtually exclusive AZ deal in a mad political rush, we noted that the firm had the strongest political connections:


The Director of Government Affairs at Scott Morrison’s suddenly favourite new drug company AstraZeneca is former federal govt lobbyist Kieran Schneemann.

He’s also a former Chief of Staff in the Liberal party.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all.


— RonniSalt (@RonniSalt) August 19, 2020

Europe or, for that matter, Astra Zeneca is not to blame for our shockingly bad rollout. Rather, this is typical Morrison Government unpolicy in which reason and research took a backseat to political management and corruption.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


    • Exactly.

      Just because the rest of the world is vaccinated doesn’t mean that they can’t transmit it here if they visit or migrate.

      I just hope the LNP are dumb enough to reopen the borders before the vaccine is properly rolled out, we’ll get a few cases of the Wuflu and the economy will shut down again.

      Just long enough to remind everyone how utterly incompetent the LNP is (disclaimer: I think Labour will only be the tiniest bit less rubbish)

  1. I would laugh, but this situation is just sad. My mother, in her mid 80s, has as-yet been unable to get a first vaccine shot in Australia. Meanwhile, here in the US, everyone who’s eligible is getting it; I’m in my 40s and have my second dose in a few weeks. Australia, after being the envy of the world with COVID elimination (driven by a combination of luck, remoteness, and tough lock-downs implemented by state premiers), is now one of the worst developed nations for vaccine rollout.

    It’s because Australia has no capability to actually do anything but dig up dirt, and agriculture (powered by cheap foreign labour, of course). From Census-fail to this vaccine debacle, Australia’s human capital is largely useless. Hideously expensive, because you’ve deliberately made land as expensive as possible, which bleeds into everything. But also useless, because you’ve destroyed most of your industrial capacity (not only manufacturing, but also design and logistics) by deliberately making yourselves hyper-uncompetitive in every sector except red dirt, ag products, and selling overpriced housing to foreigners.

    Pretty soon (within 2 months) the US will be totally back to normal. Covid-19 will become a background virus here, even with a high percentage of vaccinations. It will never go away, but for most people it will be largely mitigated.

    What’s Australia going to do once other countries have mitigated, but not eliminated the virus? Keep doing periodic state lock-downs forever? Honest question; I don’t know. The country certainly isn’t going to keep the foreigners out, because they power nominal growth. You’re already seeing this with the country shipping in fruit-pickers, but leaving tens of thousands of its own citizens stranded out of the country. I can imagine weird police-state bullshit like this going on for years (driven by the likes of Obersturmbahnfuhrer Dutton). Australians love it, from strip-searching kids to arresting “greenies” for existing in the wrong place. I honestly doubt protests of any substantial size will ever be permitted in Australia ever again.

    This fits the general pattern of letting vast numbers of foreign laborers in while denigrating your own youth at every opportunity. This morning, I saw an article in the ABC about retirees fruit-picking because (the article says) that young people are unreliable and won’t work. It would be in character for Australia to ramp up immigration to 400k per year, while permanently crushing the liberties of the existing population. Actually, I’m going to bet that’s precisely what will happen.

    Once other developed nations start normalizing after COVID, I reckon a lot of you will wish you’d gotten out while the getting was good. Leaving Australia was the best, and most lucrative single decision I’ve made. Thank dog my kids don’t have to grow up in that opportunity-free, youth-hating backwards country where the existing population would prefer to marginalize and ruin them then to permit them to have decent living standards.

  2. Straya just needs to wait till the rest of the world gets fully vaccinated. Then the resulting herd immunity can take care of the rest – the true Strayan way of doing things. No need to sweat it out.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      A brilliant strategy by this best-ever-at-everything LNP gubmint, for which it would likely claim credit if the strategy works – otherwise, if it doesn’t, it’s all Labor’s fault.

  3. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in a speech April 5 to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, called for urgently speeding up the distribution of vaccines in the “poorer nations” of the developing sector, while the Biden government’s policy of not exporting any of the large U.S. surplus vaccine production, remains in place.

    Estimating even higher than World Bank President David Malpass, Yellen said that as many as 150 million people “risk falling into extreme poverty” in the crisis triggered by the COVID pandemic. “This would be a profound economic tragedy for those countries, one we should care about. What’s less obvious—but equally true—is that this divergence would also be a problem for America. Our first task must clearly be stopping the virus by ensuring that vaccines, testing and therapeutics are available as widely as possible.” She called on “richer countries” to step up economic and public health assistance to poorer nations overwhelmed by COVID consequences.

    “Richer countries” than the United States?

    But the Biden Administration a) opposes relaxation of intellectual property rules to allow more licensed production of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in other countries, and b) will not approve exports from the excess U.S. vaccine production, which is estimated at least at 45 million doses above those being distributed and is on track to go hundreds of millions of doses beyond the maximum anticipated use in America. That is without including some 50 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine approved outside the United States but not in it.

    In South America, where the greatest pandemic worldwide threat is spreading rapidly out of Brazil to the entire continent, UN Development Program Regional Director Luis Felipe López Calva is quoted in the Washington Post today as saying, “There is a failure in the [vaccine] market.” It is so scarce that even information about the prices governments are paying for it, have become nearly impossible to find out,” as they are virtually classifying these prices in a bidding war.

    • Yeah this is what “America First” looks like.
      Reckon the Biden administration has just picked up from where Trump rolled off and actually executing well on exactly what Trump should have done in the first place. Infra plan, tax the rich appropriately and solve the imported covid for American. It should not be a shock that the U.S. president is worrying about how to get his countrymen innoculated and not worrying about every other country on earth. Where is Brazil’s president in all of this?
      The developed countries leaders increasing focus on everyone else but their own people is what got us into this mess to begin with.
      Have a look at how we are doing instead.. a PM that puts corruption within his party mates ahead of choosing a risk balanced vaccine procurement system, flies in fruit pcikers from overseas instead of forcing farmers to clean up their wage theft act and hire local, leaves australians stranded overseas while seats are reserved for internat students…
      Seems to be you cant have a PM these days who can walk and chew gum at the same time.. its either got to be a total nutter like Trumpo screaming “MAGA” with zero gameplan or a corrupt a$$hat like scummo that cant empathise with his own people even if they were getting [email protected] in his own building.
      Perhaps the Americans deserve a decade or two of their president not giving a toss about any other country than his own. Sharp focus on his own people without being distracted with how to export excess vaccines to other countries he doesnt lead, is his job.

      • Jumping jack flash

        “America first” is a natural swing the other way after the hangover from globalisation and neoliberalism.

        There is danger if it swings too far, but i think everyone went a bit stupid with globalisation.

    • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

      It’s politically near impossible for any democracy to export vaccines in any volume that is material to the needs of their own population prior to those needs being met. US will undoubtedly export vaccines when the domestic markets needs are met. Already small amounts go elsewhere (like Canada). Many will be given away as aid. Those than can pay should pay. There will be ongoing investment in development to address new variants and to build supply chains to manufacture and distribute the boosters for 8 billion people.

    • ” a) opposes relaxation of intellectual property rules to allow more licensed production of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in other countries”

      That’s the biggest gift that could be given at the moment. Perhaps an bottom line argument to encourage it is that the more people that are saved now the larger the market for drugs later on?

  4. SweeperMEMBER

    Imagine if we hadn’t have had competent state leaders like Dan Andrews…
    We would be the US minus the vaccine rollout.
    Thank god federation has put a check on this unbelievably incompetent government.

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