After five months of the Australian COVID vaccination program, it is unclear how many top priority people received vaccination.
The federal government can only confirm that less than half of geriatric carers and disabled people are vaccinated.
Tracking down statistics on vaccinations for quarantine, border and frontline health workers is even more difficult as the federal department and many states are unable to provide such numbers and media inquiries are beating each other.
“With only a very small percentage of the Australian population vaccinated, we need the Commonwealth to do its part and provide the vaccines we need to get our country out of this pandemic,” a Victorian government spokesman told The New Daily.
Compiling data on vaccine adoption in Australia has been difficult because state and state governments keep different statistics and do not always share these numbers immediately.
For example, until recently, the federal government did not have complete control over vaccination counts for elderly care workers at the federal level, as many workers are vaccinated by state clinics or general practitioners.
Disability officer: phase 1a explained
Phase 1a began almost five months ago on February 21.
This introductory phase targeted four cohorts identified as the most susceptible and at risk of contracting COVID.
According to government documents, these were:
- 70,000 border and quarantine workers
- 100,000 health workers on the front lines
- 318,000 elderly care and handicapped staff
- 190,000 elderly care and disabled residents
- For a total of 678,000 people in phase 1a.
As of Thursday, Australia had administered 9.631 million doses, 162,000 more than in the previous 24 hours.
This daily infographic shows the total number of vaccine doses administered in Australia as of July 14, 2021. Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccine information here: https://t.co/vqZuOLzB2P pic.twitter.com/ygRM2pliAJ
– Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) July 15, 2021
Initially, the federal government had forecast that phase 1a would be completed within “six weeks” of the start, ie the beginning of April.
145 days after the first vaccinations in Australia, The New Daily asked the Federal Department of Health and health officials in all states and territories a simple question:
“How high is the vaccination rate of people in phase 1a of the COVID vaccine introduction?”
There was no easy answer.
Age and disability numbers
The Federal Ministry has presented relatively clear statistics on the residents of care for the elderly and the disabled and the vaccinations of the staff.
“By July 11, nearly 38 percent (39,789) of NDIS-screened disabled people had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 18 percent (19,366) had been fully vaccinated,” a spokesman told TND.
“More than 52 percent (14,251) of the NDIS participants aged 16 and over who live in a shared apartment with two or more people (disabled and elderly care facilities) received at least one dose.”
The federal government has come under heavy criticism in recent months after only a few people with disabilities – referred to as “trickle” – had been vaccinated.
In May, Health Secretary Greg Hunt said only 999 had been vaccinated.
Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt has always touted the introduction of vaccines. Photo: AAP
In the elderly care sector, following changes to the commonwealth reporting requirements for staff vaccinations, the department said that nearly 98 percent of facilities had registered staff information.
Of the 276,209 employees reported by the providers, 116,390, or 42 percent, had received a first dose.
Of these, 67,003 (24 percent) also received a second dose, the department said.
The department said it moved “roving clinics” to elderly care facilities in NSW and vaccinated an additional 1,324 residents and 7,524 workers in response to the current outbreak.
The department said all 2,566 Commonwealth nursing homes had received first and second dose visits, with nearly 160,000 residents (86 percent of the total) vaccinated.
Frontline employee statistics not easy to find
However, other phase 1a data was more difficult to back up.
The federal department said statistics for border, quarantine and frontline health workers were kept by the states; most states put questions to the Commonwealth.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is responsible for introducing the COVID-19 vaccination and will be in the best position to answer your questions,” was NSW Health’s full response to TND’s questions.
A Northern Territory Health spokesman said the judiciary had given 116,000 doses of vaccine but that “job information was not collected” and data on health, quarantine and frontier workers were “not available”.
Part of the problem, as the Australian Capital Territory Health Department told TND, is that if they get a sting, not every Phase 1a person is considered to be in Phase 1a.
The government says vaccinations for seniors are essentially complete. Photo: AAP
“It is not possible to say how many workers may have instead identified themselves in other categories listed in phase 1b, such as: B. “a critical high risk worker” or a “health, elderly or disabled worker (including volunteers)” or were eligible based on age, “said ACT Health.
The area said it provided 8,600 first doses and 8,100 second doses to health workers, adding that “only vaccinated personnel are used for quarantine or border work”.
Queensland Health said it delivered 710,110 doses of vaccine and reached “practical phase 1a completion” in April.
However, a spokesman was unable to provide exact numbers on what “graduation” means and said, “We’re not breaking the dates that far yet.”
In Western Australia, 4,380 cross-border workers had received their first dose and 3,857 their second.
Among the frontline health workers, there were 8,520 first doses and 7,386 second doses.
The Tasmania and South Australia health authorities did not respond to TND’s inquiries.
Victoria did not provide a statistical breakdown but also said “all” of her frontline health, quarantine and border workers have been vaccinated.
Where does that leave us in relation to the original question? the vaccination rate of people in phase 1a of the COVID vaccine rollout?
Essentially given an incomplete data picture and no clear answer, although it has now been more than three months since the federal government planned to complete the entire cohort.
Victoria called on the federal government to make more vaccines available to states.
“We urgently need the Commonwealth to commit to significantly higher vaccine supplies for our state centers along with additional doses for general practitioners so we can vaccinate more Victorians,” said the state spokesman.