Vaccinated Aussies could quarantine at home
Vaccinated Australians may be allowed to quarantine at home by the end of the year in a major overhaul of the system.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy has indicated the rules around quarantining could change as more Australians get vaccinated.
"We might think about reducing the length of quarantine or more home quarantine particularly for vaccinated people. Our risk tolerance will change over the second half of this year," he told Sky News.
He said the blocking of vaccine supplies in Europe would not impact the October deadline to have all Australians vaccinated because the nation had always been "mostly dependent" on the domestic supply.
Meanwhile, the unfolding weather emergency in NSW will delay Monday's planned rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
The Department of Health has warned flash flooding would delay the distribution of vaccines, with regional NSW particularly affected.
GPS WORRIED ABOUT VACCINE SHORTAGE
Australian GPs are concerned they will not be able to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to those eligible for the next round of jabs on Monday.
Many have reported they still have not received the jabs.
But the federal government has defended its vaccine rollout, saying it has time to get it right with no community transmissions.
Federal Liberal MP Jason Falinski said on Saturday the vaccine was being rolled out to 25 million people.
"There will be hiccups along the way in the rollout of this vaccine," he told ABC News.
"We have zero community transmission so we can get take the time to get this right."
He emphasised the fact the vaccine is being produced locally by CSL in Melbourne would help the rollout.
Labor MP and shadow environment spokesman Josh Wilson accused the government of failing.
The list of 1000 GPs was revealed this week where Australians can reserve their spot to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
But many were left confused as GPs could not tell them when the vaccine would arrive.
"You make sure that the email address on the party invite actually works. You don't invite 30 children if you can only get 10 in the pool," he said.
Melbourne-based GP and former Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal also confirmed to the ABC he still had not received any doses.
"We'll find a way of getting some vaccine and we'll make this happen on Monday," he said.
"We're not going to let this fail, vaccinations are the single most important thing we can do this year.
"We've been doing this for generations and we'll keep doing it, but it's no thanks to the avenues we've had to put up with.
"We live in hope that the stock coming from the federal authorities will arrive, but if it doesn't, I'll have to find an alternative source because I really need to get on with the vaccinations. Where there's a will there's a way," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a roundtable meeting in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the vaccination program.
The next phase of the vaccination rollout on Monday includes people aged over 70, Indigenous Australians over 55, younger adults with a medical condition or disability, and workers deemed at critical or high risk.
Australia's delayed rollout comes as a number of EU countries have resumed rolling out the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs after the regulator said it was "safe".
QLD-NZ TRAVEL BUBBLE OPEN
Queensland's Chief Health Officer has approved flights from New Zealand to resume from Saturday night.
The one-way travel bubble was paused due to concerns about community transmission in New Zealand.
Dr Jeannette Young said those in mandatory quarantine due to restrictions on flights from New Zealand may leave quarantine at one minute past midnight if they have a negative COVID test result.
Direct passenger flights between New Zealand and Tasmania will also resume for the first time in more than 20 years.
Air New Zealand announced on Friday it would run two flights a week from Auckland to Hobart, on Thursdays and Sundays, once quarantine-free travel is available.
Originally published as 'Hiccups': COVID vaccine delays as travel bubble resumes