Morrison gaslights himself as Aussies wait for Pfizer

We all know that there is something terribly wrong with Scott Morrison. He’s disordered in some classically toxic way. But, sometimes, it’s better to rely upon a pearl of older wisdom. To put it bluntly, Scott Morrison is a wanker:

“I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“Of course I am. But what’s important is that we’re totally focused on ensuring that we’ve been turning this around.”

…In a media blitz, Mr Morrison renewed calls for younger Australians to take up the AstraZeneca jab and strengthened his appeal to the nation’s medical experts to review health advice limiting the jab to over-60s, arguing the latest outbreak changed the risk profile.

Behind the scenes, it’s the usual toxicity:

Scott Morrison this week more or less trashed Australia’s top advisory body on immunisation, in remarks that were at best ill-judged and at worst alarming.

On Wednesday Morrison told a news conference he (or the government) made a “constant appeal” to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to review its advice on AstraZeneca according to the balance of risk.

On Thursday he said on radio: “I’ve just simply said balance of risk is changing, guys, so how is that impacting on your advice, and it’s time to think about that.”

The “guys” (and girls) on ATAGI are obviously as aware as anyone of the changing risk profile as cases increase.

Indeed ATAGI has already altered its advice on AstraZeneca in light of the Sydney outbreak.

Always somebody else’s fault. As the disordered PM suddenly discovers that he might be able to save his skin if more people take the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

This raises the question of why they are not. The low-risk deaths explain some of it. AZ is also consistently showing up as less effective (though still very good) to mRNA vaccines against Delta. Via Morgan Stanley:

On symptomatic infection, (i) A Public Health England (PHE) study based on data collected in England between April 5 and May 16 [ref] suggested that full vaccination efficacy against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta strain was ~88% with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccineand ~60% with the AstraZeneca vaccine; (ii) A separate study in Scotland suggested that vaccine efficacy against the Delta variant is 79% and 60% with the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccine, respectively [ref]; (iii) A study in Canada suggests that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 87% protective against the Delta variant [ref]. On hospitalization, (i) PHE studies demonstrated that the efficacy against hospitalization is ~96% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after two doses [ref], and 92% for the AstraZeneca vaccine after two doses [ref];(ii) The Canada study suggests that 1 dose of the Pfizer/Moderna/AstraZeneca vaccine offers 78%/96%/88% protection against severe outcomes [ref].

The key stat here is that AZ and PF are both very good at averting hospitalisation. But on most other measures the mRNA vaccines are a little better.

Doubtless, this is why Scott Morrison gave himself an expensive mRNA vaccine while he bought the much cheaper AZ for everybody else. Another reason why many Australians no doubt think that they deserve the same.

Then there is the vaccine procurement process which has been revealed very publically as suspicious at best and probably corrupt. While Morrison sent Pfizer packing mid-last year, he placed an enormous order with AZ, which has associations with the Liberal Party.

We also know that both AZ and Novavax have never produced vaccines before, another public relations blunder by Morrison.

And, of course, to save his arse as the rollout collapsed, the very same Scott Morrison telling everybody to hurry today, told everybody to relax and that vaccines were “not a race”.

So why wouldn’t everybody wait for the one that he had, the one that is offering the best immunity, with the least side effects and best medical advice?

All of these are reasons why Australians are waiting for the mRNA vaccines that a blundering Morrison failed to secure at first. Then did get his hands for later this year. Guaranteeing that we would all wait.

Meanwhile, he did nothing to fix hotel quarantine, thereby ensuring more lockdowns.

Frankly, Morrison has been so incoherently self-referential at every turn that no pragmatic Australian (which is all of them) will entrust their health to his motormouth.

Houses and Holes
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  1. Good that the post is about the procurement process and recognises that AZ is effective/low risk.

      • Do you think this is all on Morrison?

        If I’m not Health Literate, or can’t weigh risks/take a downside view on risk ceteris paribus:
        – ATAGI says Pfizer preferred under 60 – that sounds like don’t have it if under 60
        – CHOs say wait
        – LHDs say wait
        – Clotting sounds scary, wait what are even the symptoms I should look out for??! RUH ROH, now a bloke in his 40s (citation required) has died as he wasn’t told what to watch out for…

        He’s the leader and so yep, procurement and rollout on him, as well as confidence building re: risk, but you can’t ignore how people will interpret the (valid) ATAGI advice…

        (can you?)

        Open question, not arguing.

          • LOL. No sub = troll: you need a better customer acquisition strategy, beyond “troll”.

            I used to sub. Also was in your super.

            I get it, you’re in lockdown, things are tough.


          • Arthur Schopenhauer

            No sub = not spending money on stuff that doesn’t keep my business alive.

            Being a d!ck to non-subscribers is self defeating.

            “We’d love you to come on board” would get more people to sign up.


          • Jumping jack flash

            No sub = I have no budget for this but my super is with you guys so I’m supportive and feel no guilt.

        • Most people would trust a doctor before a politician. But if you catch Covid19 after 2 doses I would much rather have a Pfizer and a 1:20 chance of going to hospital rather than an AZ with a 2:20 chance. And BTW that is the best result for AZ I have seen reported which shows an AZ recipient has double the chance of a Pfizer recipient going to hospital as most reports I have seen show AZ vaccinated people have triple the chance. Correct me if I am wrong.

          • ChinajimMEMBER

            Yes you’re wrong.

            Please read those numbers again carefully. The worst that can be said about Astra Zeneca is it is “only” 60% efficacious ‘against symptomatic disease’.

            The Canada study says AZ has 92% ‘efficacy against hospitalisation’.

            That’s pretty damn good!

            Although I agree Pfizer certainly is better, so it’s really great that our Prime Minister got his early on/sarc on that last bit.


        Yeh I basically don’t want AZ cos that’s what SloMo would want. That’s how much I can’t stand him. Would sacrifice my own health if i can watch him impale himself further on his own incompetently and corruptly procured, second rate sword.

        • Lol. Haha. It’s the option that hurts scummo most and keeps the borders closed.

    • Stats are great, until you become one of the stats.
      You can be sure the persons who experienced an unfortunate and untimely demise as a result of AZ would disagree, if they were still with us to do so.
      You’d have to have rocks in your head to get AZ if you were ~40 or under.

        • She was on the pill, which is a risk factor for blood clots and looking at her she is clearly obese. Wonder if the latter has something to do with the risk of clotting due to az vaccine since covid itself is associated with poorer outcomes for the metabolically challenged.

      • Jumping jack flash

        I’m convinced my father’s (84) two recent strokes were a result of his COVID injection, but there will never be any proof, and nobody can ever be held accountable even if there was.

        I’m still trying to find out which one he was given because he and nobody else seems to know, I’m guessing due to the timing (March) it was AZ.
        First stroke was about a week or two after the first dose. Second was about 2 weeks before his second dose.

  2. I’m glad they have made AZ available to anyone choosing to have it. But, the people who lost faith in AZ following ATAGI’s previous announcement are not going to regain their faith if ATAGI issues a retraction. You can’t un-ring that bell.

  3. The BystanderMEMBER

    I’m just hoping that Albo goes into lockstep with Scomo on China. Once that happens I have no remaining reason to give this incompetent and self-absorbed idiot my vote

    • RatedAAAMEMBER

      The only reason the Coalition still have my vote. Imagine all will be forgiven by the populace by the time we hit the polls and the majority are vaccinated.

  4. People wisely do not trust govt, decades of examples of poor bahviour and a total void moral authority to lead exists. Who would have thought some of that would be required to rally efforts to fight a global pandemic. Too late jerks.

  5. Arthur Schopenhauer

    In The Age:

    ‘PM is doing a great job’: Dutton.

    Translation: Knives are sharpened, and I’m doing the numbers.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      Hoping that he’s not getting #shadysukkar to do the numbers again. It didn’t work out so well last time.

      • blacktwin997MEMBER

        Surely Sukkar’s taxpayer-funded remedial maths classes will give him a boost this time?

        • kierans777MEMBER

          I don’t know if Sukkar’s maths is all that good. He gave a local council $42 million as part of the #carparkrorts for, as far as I’ve been able to determine, nothing. Except for the very biased election coverage said council gave him on the ratepayers dime (paid advertising).

          • blacktwin997MEMBER

            You’re probably right. Absent some other skillz I’d pay good money to see Sukkar vs Canavan in a 21-round head-butting contest. They both seem to be tricked up with some serious cro-magnon browery and a shared disinterest in quaint notions of legality.

  6. C'est de la folieMEMBER

    What is the worse tragedy for Australia?

    Reelect a government fronted by an overt psychopath with not a skerrick of interpersonal skills, who is a bible bashing nutter to boot, comprising a range of misogynists, outright frauds, political allowance rorters, and backhand CCP beneficiaries, wedded to NeoLiberalism and determined to get a cut and sell Australians out.. .

    Or elect a government fronted by Albo, comprising some who are disturbingly close to the CCP, and a wagon load of others who get out of bed each day from the starting point that males are toxic, plus another flavour of self serving, property speculating psychopaths, still wedded to NeoLiberalism and evading the implications for working people,

    • Charles MartinMEMBER

      It’s a tough decision, I think most will go with better the devil you know again and the election result might be very very close.

      • C'est de la folieMEMBER

        My current thinking is a markedly fractured and bipolar electorate exuding considerable hatred for politics per se.

        I might write something for the weekend from the crystal ball

        • Gunna, is that you?

          I’m tipping a bunch of independents will slice a chunk from the Nationals and we end up with a hung parliament if the vaccine rollout gets most aussies done twice and borders reopen. Labour won’t win many votes. Scomo has only that left to hope for

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Well, we all know that things the left might hypothetically think and do are a far greater threat than things the right are actually thinking and doing, no matter how demonstrably disastrous.

      That’s the reasoning that’s gotten us to this point, and are things really that bad ?

    • Jumping jack flash

      Both parties are the same and both have the same amount of power [and desire] to effect meaningful change in today’s political landscape, i.e. none.

      Politicians and their governments are reduced to caretakers and facilitators for the entities who actually run the country. It doesn’t matter who is in the driver’s seat of the car that is our country, the car is radio-controlled by those entities from the side. But despite this fact the passengers still comment on the driving, and all want a turn in the driver’s seat.

      Those in control are the same entities that bought the power back in the great power sell-offs of the late 80s and 90s, but power still continues to be sold off to this day.

  7. haroldusMEMBER

    I’d just like to point out that labor has been so bad that of the last three prime ministers, one has been Tony Abbot and another has been Scott Morrison.


      What surprises me is that anyone thinks the Oz people don’t deserve and/or haven’t begged for folks like abbot/scummo to “lead” them. They truly are the cream of the crop.

    • Gillard was so bad?
      (can we not count Rudd Gillard Rudd as 3?)
      Rudd was so bad?
      Keating was so bad?

      I’d argue Gillard and Rudd were orders of magnitude better?

      *ducks for cover*

      • Jumping jack flash

        Don’t be too hard on Keating he had a hard act to follow, and then he was scapegoated for the global recession we had to have.

        But on the plus side, after the scourging and sacrifice of Keating as reparation for that recession, everyone in politics vowed never to let one happen ever again, and we can thank that for the absolute mess we are in today.

    • Gillard the worst, Morrison with momentum to win but, as DLS points out, bungled enough in the right direction to make it a close contest. Perhaps not for long). The other contender for that crown Abbott,(mercifully ineffectual as PM, unable to implement his agenda)

      Gillard was a grasping traitor. A ‘nice’ person carries no weight.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      One does have to wonder just how bad things have to get before the people who have been running the country for 20 of the last 25 years will be held responsible.

  8. Claude Brading

    Add another factor: All those numbers are based on 2 doses, which takes 3 weeks for Pfizer and 12 weeks for AZ. So if you get AZ today you won’t actually be protected until late October. And as the government keeps claiming that Pfizer and Moderna will be flowing soon(ish), it’s reasonable to conclude (if you believe them on that) that you’ll be protected sooner by waiting for Pf/Mo in about September, whereas taking AZ now will only delay your protection.

    If the government came out and said, no we really, really stuffed this, no Pfizer/Moderna until 2022, then it makes more sense to get AZ now.

    • Good perspective.

      Moderna 15 million back half of the year, reconfigured Moderna (?for delta) H1CY2022 – that’s a wide target. Confidence in this happening?

      Pfizer apparently arriving at 1mil/week now. I did some sums in a previous post based on 1mill/month, so my numbers were wrong. This changes the election calculus dramatically, maybe.

    • Beat me to it. I was about to make exactly the same point.

      So the list-in-chief’s lying is a big part of the problem.

    • Excellent point. I cracked and went for AZ. I would have preferred Pfizer but looking at my likelihood of accessing it it seemed a better bet for getting fully vaccinated faster.

      • RobotSenseiMEMBER

        Ditto. The 1A roll-out was an absolute Shorten, and I couldn’t afford to wait.

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        Me too. Better to have a more modest coverage than none. With luck we can get mRNA boosters at some point.

  9. A nice brief summary of what’s happening across the world.

    The numbers are going up everywhere restrictions are lifted because the percentage of the population that isn’t vaccinated is still too low.

    The two options for Australia at the moment are to either go for eradication once in the community by minimizing the movement of people or have a health crisis. Thankfully the leadership from the states means we’ve gone with the former. It’s just a shame that the federal government hasn’t met it’s responsibilities as we’d be a lot closer to having the vaccination levels required to live with this thing.

    And a big f**k you too the media elements that have allowed baited the populace with doubt about the dangers of the virus, the effectiveness of the vaccines, and have also put forward the false economic argument that having a sick community and overburdened health system is worse fir Australia than having a city pause for a few weeks.

  10. RobotSenseiMEMBER

    Morrison’s press conference yesterday was absolutely nonsensical. I’ll try to summarise it in a coherent thought.
    One of the journos asked him about the AZ vaccine for under-40’s. Morrison’s response was to go and talk to your GP about the informed consent process. The journo then asked whether pharmacists would be able to give informed consent. Morrison countered by saying that you could go to your GP for the consent process, then see your pharmacist for the vaccine (errr ok, so that takes out mass-AZ vaccines at the pharmacy.)
    Then he pivoted to say what you choose to do with your own healthcare is ultimately your choice, and if you want to get the AZ shot you should just get it. He seemed to just leave it at that without any further expansion on where someone might get informed consent from, if not from their GP (this comments section would probably be as good as anything out there, I guess?)
    Finally he made the point that pharmacists would be covered under the immunity waiver (goodness knows how because that wasn’t part of the original agreement struck between the government and GP’s)
    So if you’re already not confused:
    * GP’s can give informed consent (and have a liability waiver) but I know a grand total of 0 GP’s who are going to go against the ATAGI advice
    * pharmacists apparently can now give informed consent despite having no healthcare training in that regard
    * “do your own research” is now the government mantra

    Honestly, what an absolute mess. Clear as mud.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      It’s just a word salad of soggy lettuce. Thanks for the summation – was easier to understand than the actual presser.

    • Then he pivoted to say what you choose to do with your own healthcare is ultimately your choice

      He said that after he was asked about the two deaths in Tasmania from the AZ vaccine. No empathy. Might have well just said “sucks to be them.”

  11. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    Morrison is a complete loony who is practiced at living with massive cognitive dissonance. Unfortunately for everyone else, this means he can say multiple meaningless or contradictory things in the same presser, and he doesn’t notice or care because so many of his thoughts are meaningless or contradictory.

    His disordered thinking is becoming a liability to the LNP. So what are the requirements for libspill now? Editorials calling for it from at least 3 Murdoch newspapers before the spill can happen?

  12. CleverUsername

    I got the AZ on Monday since I didn’t want to wait for Pfizer. Just went on the DoH website, and when asked if I’d consider AZ, said yes, which gave me a whole host of places I could book, some same day. Discussed this with my other ineligible friends and were all shocked, as the whole ‘speak to your GP’ message makes it sound like you need approval. You don’t. Just go and get it if you want. A couple of observations:
    – Felt terrible between 12 and 20hrs post-jab
    – Very easy process, in and out in 15min
    – No information given to me on symptoms to look out for with blood clotting
    – No real clarity on timing of second dose. Recommended 12 weeks, but can get it in 4. Why wouldn’t everyone just get it in 4?

    • CleverUsername

      Also, surely based on current vaccination rate it would be easy to give the public info on when Pfizer will be available to their cohort? If this info were available, perhaps it would even speed up the previous cohorts getting theirs, knowing that booking times could blow out if opened up to the next group?

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      If you get it in 4 weeks instead of 12, it offers less protection, and you’ll need a booster later on.

      I thought the recommendation is 6 weeks?

    • Most effective at 12 weeks, quite effective at 4 weeks.
      Again, its personal risk management (and personal choice).

    • UpperWestsideMEMBER

      I had the Pfizer, wife the J&J, D1(18yrs) Moderna, the (twins 16yrs) Pfizer.
      I felt like crap next day after the first , ditto the second but less so. Wife felt nothing ( but then women are much tougher than men in general). Kids all felt just enough to whine and demand treats.

      Kudos for getting vaxxed with AZ!

  13. RomulusMEMBER

    What this article misses is that:
    1) Scomo got Pfizer prior to all the issues with AZ coming to light. Once the questions on clotting came around it just re-enforced the public’s view that Pfizer is good/AZ is bad.
    2) Trust in the government’s management of the pandemic is eroding. Especially when people like Coatsworth are just happy to parrot whatever the government line is without being critical of the govt’s clear failures. Every time I see Coatsworth – I see the smarmy political ladder climber who would say/do anything to get ahead. I have no doubt the PM’s handlers got him to pen this opinion piece as cover for Scomo’s awful decision making with respect to the vaccine procurement/rollout.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      Coatsworth is a Liberal hack. His whole argument for “use AZ” was “we bought a lot of it and we shouldn’t let it go to waste” instead of asking the obvious question “why do we have a lot of AZ” ie: the game of mates.

  14. Jumping jack flash

    The main thing I’m watching for now is more stimulus. Pretty sure the US is going for more, but maybe that’s because their efforts keep getting knocked back. Someone please tell those Republicans how the global economy works these days.

    Delta offers the perfect cover for Scomo to have another crack at getting it right, and maybe Scomo’s bungled vaccine rollout will prove to be genius.

    A few hundred billion should probably do the job, targeted at workers to spend, but not on houses! It has to be spent on buying services and imported Chinese goods, because there’s not much else other than those. Its not like we’re all going to go out and buy some iron ore or coal with our free stimulus money…

  15. If astra zenica is run by someone with liberal party connections, can the fact that scotty from marketing has been pressuring atagi to change its advice to promote AZ be seen as corruption?