The Informer: A dose of honesty about the vaccine rollout

A dose of honesty about the vaccine rollout

Consider it the government's version of a storm warning - and it's as advanced as possible.

Given the snafus that have plagued the early days of the rollout - two overdoses, safety breaches and a ban on the export of 250,000 doses from Italy - it probably comes as no surprise to many.

What might be a shock is the actual announcement by Health Secretary Brendan Murphy.

Professor Murphy said modelling had been done when it was assumed there would be a four-week gap between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, not the 12-week gap that is now clinically recommended.

Originally the government said four million doses of the vaccine would be administered by the end of March, but it started backing away from that promise not long after it was first made.

Now the Olympic-standard backflip is complete. To be fair though, things change.

Discussions have begun with Australian manufacturer CSL, where more than 50 million vaccine doses will be produced in Melbourne, to increase the speed of production.

If that was the brickbat, the government received a bouquet of sorts for its cheap loan scheme aimed at small and medium-sized businesses still struggling to recover from last year's recession.

The scheme, part of a $1.2 billion package to take over from the JobKeeper wage subsidy that ends later this month, offers 10-year loans with 24-month repayment holidays.

The package also offers support to the struggling aviation sector by funding half-price air tickets for domestic flights between April and July.

That hasn't received the universal support the PM hoped - with one state treasurer calling it a "half-baked, half-price flight scheme" which prohibits Queensland's from holidaying in their own state. WA Premier Mark McGowan was shorter and sharper, labelling it "pathetic".

And while the economic perils of a pandemic have been experienced deeply across all business sectors - the entertainment industry, often simplistically viewed as a luxury, has been no different. Let's face it, lockdown ensured live music died.

But wait - there's a resurrection afoot!

C'mon down, Broken Hill. In line with Birdsville's Big Red Bash comes the inaugural The Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash.

Birdsville's COVID-safe event has already sold out so Broken Hill could well be your best bet if the who's who of Oz rock appeals - oh, and red dirt.

Broken Hill's mayor Darriea Turley said: "Pre-COVID we were really struggling, and while COVID has brought more tourists to the area, his really will be a big injection into the economy in the longer term."

And what's even better is that it's been locked in for three years. Tickets are limited to 10,000 - and go on sale at the end of the month. Consider yourself warned.

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This story A dose of honesty about the vaccine rollout first appeared on The Canberra Times.