QLD vaccine rollout lags as other states open jab hubs
Queensland's coronavirus jab drive is failing to keep pace with Victoria and New South Wales as new mass vaccination hubs in those states trigger a rapid ramp-up of the rollout.
The Sunshine State is in danger of being left behind as analysis of vaccination data shows Victoria's new jab hubs, which opened last Monday, allowed the state to increase the number of daily jabs by 4000, with its week-on-week jab average jumping 35.6 per cent.
It was in stark contrast to Queensland's modest 11.8 per cent rise in the same week.
The newly-opened Sydney Olympic Park hub will have the potential to deliver 5000 COVID-19 jabs a day, more than double what all of Queensland's state-run clinics administer on an average day.
And experts have warned the lack of mass vaccination hubs in Queensland could leave it in a position where there's a large supply of jabs and not enough avenues to get vaccines into arms.
Queensland has yet to open a mass vaccination hub, with the health department saying it was "planning expanded vaccination options" when "larger volumes of vaccine", particularly Pfizer, are available later this year.
A health department spokesman said Queensland's vaccine rollout, as a proportion of its population, was comparable to other states and slightly ahead of NSW and Victoria.
But vaccine data shows Victoria is quickly catching up with Queensland, with both states administering jabs to 10 per cent of its population as of Sunday.
Just seven days prior, Queensland was ahead, vaccinating 9.1 per cent of its population compared to Victoria's 8.3 per cent.
University of Queensland infectious disease expert Associate Professor Paul Griffin said it was important to plan ahead for mass vaccination hubs, lest states end up with a large supply of jabs and not enough avenues to deliver them.
"I think it makes perfect sense that we have as many avenues as possible to get people vaccinated," he said.
"We need to plan ahead, these things (mass vaccination hubs) aren't easy to do at short notice."
Prof Griffin said it had been demonstrated internationally, and now within Australia, that mass vaccination hubs - alongside well-stocked GPs - were an efficient way to get large numbers of people inoculated against COVID-19.
Navy Commodore Eric Young, who is in-charge of the logistics of Australia's vaccine rollout, said Victoria had used mass vaccination hubs "to great effect", with authorities "looking very closely" at the newest hub in NSW.
As supply of locally-made AstraZeneca strengthens and Pfizer doses continue to arrive consistently from overseas, Commodore Young said 900,000 vaccine doses would be distributed this week in the "biggest week by far" of the logistic exercise.
Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said the Queensland government should work with the Commonwealth to get a mass vaccination hub running as soon as possible.
"The state government has an obligation to tell Queenslanders how they plan to vaccinate us safely and quickly," she said.
"Queensland can't fall behind the rest of the nation."
Originally published as QLD vaccine rollout lags as other states open jab hubs