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Mass vaccination hubs get green light as PM battles to get rollout on track


Australia is set to shift to mass coronavirus vaccination clinics in a bid to roll out more jabs under the troubled immunisation program.

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Scott Morrison on Wednesday abandoned his opposition to major vaccine hubs, which Labor and doctors have been agitating for.

The prime minister made the shift after announcing he would meet with state and territory leaders twice a week to get the derailed rollout back on track.

“We’ll need to change our rollout to go to mass vaccination options and that will have to be done in partnership with states and territories,” he told The West Australian.

Morrison said offering all Australians at least one shot of a vaccine by the end of this year remained a possibility.

“At this stage, there are too many uncertainties to commit to a timetable like that,” he said.

“I would need, and the states would need to be sure, they could put those arrangements in place and ramp them up and do them safely.”

The government is copping significant flack over its decision to dump a vaccine rollout timetable after falling short of its initial targets.

Morrison attributed the delays to three million doses failing to arrive from Europe and medical advice for people under 50 to avoid the AstraZeneca jab.

The next national cabinet meeting has been brought forward to Monday and will after that meet twice a week.

“I have requested that national cabinet and our health ministers move back to an operational footing,” Morrison said.

“To work together, closely, to tackle head-on the challenges we are all facing with making our vaccination program as good as it can be.”

He said the more regular meetings would continue “until we solve the problems and get the program back on track”.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is happy to meet with the prime minister as often as required.

She says she’s surprised Morrison did not organise more national cabinet meetings earlier in the vaccine rollout.

“What these regular meetings will do is … put everybody on the same page, so everybody will be getting the same information at the same time, and telling the Australian public everything at a single point of time,” Palaszczuk said.






Meanwhile, health authorities are grappling with the nation’s first coronavirus death for the year and the second case of rare blood clots believed to be linked to the AstraZeneca jab.

A man in his 80s died from complications due to COVID-19 after returning to Queensland from the Philippines.

A woman in her 40s is in a stable condition in hospital after developing blood clots following her vaccination in Western Australia.

It is the second recorded case of the rare blood clots from 700,000 injections, meaning the likelihood of contracting the potentially deadly disorder is one in every 350,000 people.

Therapeutic Goods Administration boss John Skerritt said Australians had a higher chance of winning the lottery than getting blood clots as a side effect of vaccinations.

People who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine have been asked to look out for symptoms including severe or persistent headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or abdominal pain.

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