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COVID quencher: PM likes Melbourne pub's beer for jab idea


Prime Minister Scott Morrison is full bottle on a Melbourne pub’s offer to give free beer to vaccinated punters.

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Port Melbourne’s Prince Alfred Hotel began offering complimentary pints of beer to jabbed-up drinkers last week when a pop-up vaccination centre opened across the road.

But the Therapeutic Goods Administration knocked it on the head because of rules about offering alcohol as an incentive to receive medicines.

The prime minister described the response as heavy-handed, indicating the decision would be reversed after Health Minister Greg Hunt intervened.

Morrison said the regulator was doing its job but he wants more flexibility because of the pandemic.

“It’s a sensible rule. But in these circumstances, the national interest is to get vaccinated,” he told the Seven Network on Friday.

“The PA down there in Melbourne. Good on you for getting in behind the national effort. We’ll get it sorted. Common sense will prevail. Cheers. Cheers to the PA.”

The Prince Alfred was offering patrons the option of a pint, wine or spirit after showing their COVID vaccination card.

Publican Tom Streater said the deal received a strong response before the TGA told him to stop the offer on Wednesday.

“If we’ve done our little bit to get a few more people vaccinated by raising awareness and providing an incentive I thought that was a pretty good outcome for us,” he told 3AW radio.

Streater said TGA staff were nice folks who were just doing their job.

“The TGA gave us a call and said there’s a whole lot of guidelines that govern what you can and can’t do to incentivise vaccination,” he said.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley also backed the idea, saying the pub was around the corner from his office.

He also used the issue to have a dig at the prime minister.

“I’m glad the Prime Minister has established that Port Melbourne and Melbourne is part of the Commonwealth and that he’s keen to make sure that incentives are real and tangible,” Foley said.

“I don’t know why the TGA had that rule in place … what we need is everyone vaccinated. And if PA’s suggestion of a beer is going to help as part of that, then good on PA’s.”

In the United States, beer, lottery tickets and marijuana have been among the incentives used to drive up vaccination rates.

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