Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ declaration he had no prior warning a shipment of 400,000 doses was headed to his state has been disputed.
The health minister has cast doubt over accusations the government did not inform Premier Daniel Andrews about a shipment of extra Covid-19 vaccines to Victoria.
Mr Andrews sensationally accused the government of not giving the heads up of the announcement, telling journalists he only found out when they informed him mid-press conference.
But Greg Hunt on Monday was on the defensive, keen to dispel the accusations and squared the blame on the premier’s own media unit and state health minister.
“I was working with Martin Foley last week, late in the week, and we said that there’d be a package across three fronts announced on the weekend of doses for the state, doses for pharmacies, and doses for GPs,” he told 3AW.
“And indeed, the Premier‘s media unit, I believe, they’d been doing some work with The Age on Saturday and so it’s unfortunate that the only person who wasn’t aware was the Premier. But we move on.”
Host Neil Mitchell pressed on, asking if the minister was accusing Mr Andrews of trying to divert attention from the Prime Minister’s press conference – which was held at the same time as the Victorian Premier.
“The Premier has been sniping at you as you well know, or the government, and you’re telling me that you had told Martin Foley what was coming. General Frewen had told the Secretary of health what was coming,” the radio host said.
“And the media unit knew about it, and the Premier didn’t, either that or he was conning us.”
“I can’t speak for them,” Mr Hunt replied.
“So, you know what it is, Neil? If I’m honest, there was a major announcement. For whatever reason, there may have been a desire to divert. They’ve achieved that outcome.”
An extra 400,000 Covid vaccines will be directed to hot spots in Melbourne after the government secured one million doses of Moderna from the European Union.
The additional doses will be a combination of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Mr Hunt said the Victorian doses would consist of:
On Sunday Premier Andrews said the deal was “fantastic news” but expressed frustration that the Prime Minister did not inform him of the announcement.
“Maybe while I’ve been talking to you there was a missed call on my phone,” he said.
“I’m delighted to know that … That’s fantastic news. Let’s get them into arms, that’s what I’m about.
“And maybe if they’d been ordered last year, they’d be in arms already.”
It followed a week of criticism from the Victorian government over reports extra vaccines were redirected to NSW through its GP network over the states allocation.
Mr Morrison disputed Victoria had been treated unfairly, saying the state had previously benefited from a redirection of vaccines when it experienced earlier outbreaks.
Originally published as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ claim he was blindsided by vaccine announcement disputed