The Australian Government is caught in a war of words with the European Union about vaccine delivery amid rising frustration at home about our slow, messy rollout. Scott Morrison blames Europe for blocking shipments. Europe says it’s doing no such thing. Regardless of who’s right, the latest roadblock points to a problem that’s hindered our vaccine rollout from the very start. Since last year, the government has tried to project breezy optimism about the state of the rollout, often at the cost of providing crucial details to the Australian people, left sitting in the dark being fed bullshit.
August 2020: the deal that wasn’t
Prime Minister Scott Morrison triumphantly announces Australia’s vaccine “deal” with AstraZeneca. Within hours, however, the company points out the “deal” is actually a letter of intent, with many of the crucial details yet to be finalised. Other countries, like the United Kingdom, had signed similar letters of intent months earlier.
The slow process
By the start of the year, it became apparent that Australia was taking longer to get its rollout under way than many comparable countries. The official line was that we were going slow to keep safe — since COVID-19 wasn't running amok, the Therapeutic Goods Administration could consider vaccines slowly and not authorise for emergency use.