Health Minister accused of ‘making stuff up on the run’
Queensland must get its house in order to end the "chaos and confusion" over health messaging to ensure confidence in the vaccine rollout is not undermined, the Opposition claims.
The Queensland Government sparked mass confusion on Wednesday after contradicting pre-existing Commonwealth health advice and calling for people with a history of anaphylaxis to delay getting the COVID-19 jab at a critical stage of the rollout.
At 10.30am state Health Minister Yvette D'Ath urged people with a history of reactions to delay the jab, by 12.30 the Therapeutic Goods Administration advised there was no need to delay as it was a known reaction, and at 5.18pm Queensland Health revoked its earlier advice.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli accused Health Minister Yvette D'Ath of "making stuff up on the run".
"That undermines confidence in the rollout," he said.
"We ask the Health Minister to leave the advice to the experts because yesterday was far from where we want to see things if we want Queenslanders to have confidence."
Opposition Health spokeswoman Ros Bates said Wednesday's mixed messaging created "chaos and confusion".
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk defended the state's handling of the issue and insisted Ms D'Ath was acting on the health advice of Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
"Dr Young had some concerns, she went to the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee) and we're very much upfront," she said.
"The Health Minister is very upfront about if you hear something we tell the public.
"I commend Yvette D'Ath for doing that.
"This is being Commonwealth led and the Commonwealth came out and said there is no reason for alarm.
"I fully support that and people with those severe allergies should just talk to their GP and make sure that their GP knows."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt declared it was the right move for a "calmer" Queensland to return its vaccine advice to the pre-existing standards for people with a history of severe allergic reactions.
Mr Hunt said he would "leave it to Queensland" as to whether it should have waited for advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration before telling people to delay.
"I would say they were being cautious, there is no criticism from the Commonwealth," he said.
"We were able to solve it after it was drawn to our attention in a very short number of hours and provide the comfort and confidence."
He said the TGA completed a rapid review at Queensland's request and provided conclusions that the vaccine batch was safe and "there were no adverse events that were out of line without which was ordinarily expected".
"I think that was an important sign of confidence in terms of action by one jurisdiction, response by the Commonwealth and then calm in that jurisdiction again," Mr Hunt said.
There had been 19 advice reactions to COVID-19 vaccines since the start of the rollout as of Wednesday, all in patients with prior history of anaphylaxis and all have quickly recovered.
It is a known reaction in any vaccine, not specific to COVID-19 jabs.
As of Thursday morning 28,533 vaccinations had been completed across the state, however Mr Crisafulli said it needed to progress faster.
"We are increasingly becoming concerned with the speed out the rollout of the vaccine in Queensland," he said.
"The vaccine is safe and we want people to roll their sleeves up and get the vaccine.
"We do though have to pressure the government to get their house in order."
Originally published as Health Minister accused of 'making stuff up on the run'