Could, and Should, Australia have acted faster for Covid-19 Vaccines.
Australia did not order Covid-19 vaccines as fast as some other countries, those that have apparently done so much better than Australia.
Australia hedged on the AstraZeneca that could be made in Australia, and the UQ vaccine, that unfortunately did not materialise.
Discussions with Pfizer, the most expensive Covid-19 vaccine in the world, were held but not finalised.
Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler has said “We ended up signing an agreement five months after all of those countries, all the countries to which we usually compare ourselves — America, the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada — and today we’re still paying that price.”
How do we compare to those countries?
- America, 41,381,709 cases and 671,050 deaths.
- UK, 7,094,592 cases and 133,674 deaths.
- Europe, 56,351,304 cases and 1,185,900 deaths. (inc UK)
- Japan, 1,590,994 cases and 16,436 deaths.
- Canada, 1,528,134 cases and 27,088 deaths.
Should we be more like them?
- Australia is currently 66,317 cases and 1,063 deaths.
Note: If Australia had obtained supplies of the vaccine earlier, at a deadly cost to these other countries, how many more would have died in those other highly affected countries, if they had to go without the vaccines that might have been sent to Australia?
Between 1st December 2020 and 1st March 2021, Australia suffered a total of one death from Covid-19.
How many died in those countries that we were so far behind?
In the UK alone, there were over 400 deaths every day in December 2020.
In the US, there were over 77,000 Covid-19 deaths just in December 2020.
Europe had 39,960 deaths in just one
week in January (Week ending January 24, 2021).
The UK, Canada, Europe and the USA began using vaccines in December 2020.
Japan and Australia began in February 2021.
Australia did not need the vaccine as much as those other countries, that Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler wants to compare Australia against.
Even if we had ordered Pfizer earlier, would they have shipped them to Australia, a country with few cases and no deaths, or would they, as they actually did, have reserved the doses for the countries that needed them.
A reminder; Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler has said “ and today we’re still paying that price.”
This week alone:
Australia 10,777 cases and 47 deaths.
US 1,084,767 cases and 8,233 deaths.
UK 266,456 cases and 948 deaths.
Europe 882,384 cases and 10,825 deaths.
Japan 111,951 cases and 393 deaths.
Canada 26,483 cases and 135 deaths.