As former federal member for New England Tony Windsor well put it recently, celebrity journalists dislike Twitter because they can’t control the narrative.
The Queensland Pfizer and vaccine hesitancy conspiracy theory
One such example is the perpetual story that Queenslanders and Western Australians are laggers in the covid-19 vaccination rollout and that they have now allowed Pfizer to be administered to the over sixties cohort in some sort of anti-AstraZeneca vaccine campaign.
However, just days before James Massola’s accusation the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners had reported that “GPs in South Australia and the Northern Territory will soon begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to over-60s in line with state-run mass vaccination hubs, and other states could soon follow.” General practice to follow state Pfizer criteria.
By September 30, the Federal Government announced it was also opening up the vaccine to ages twelve and up. “Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all Australians aged over 12 from Friday, with the federal government now confident there are enough doses to offer vaccination choice. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced changes to the national rollout on Wednesday, mirroring measures in states including NSW, Victoria and Queensland.” Australians over 60 given access to Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Let us in
Mr Massola then turned his attention to the National Rugby League Grand Final which was being hosted in Queensland for the first time and made the claim that people were not being allowed into the state to see sick or dying relatives.
In one recent nationally publicised case, the family hadn’t contacted the Qld Health exemption team at all to arrange an application.
In June, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young had set a pathway for requests to visit end of life relatives by preparing five hospitals to accommodate.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed recently that the Qld Health exemption unit staffing levels had been increased to 90 personnel to cope with the growing demand of people wanting to enter the state.
Qld Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski also noted that over 8,000 people were currently queued to enter the state either to return home or to relocate.
Premier Palaszczuk had also indicated in August that the Qld hotel quarantine was at near capacity of 5,300 people.
Perpetual singling out of Queensland over border closures
The singling out of Queensland over border restrictions began early in the pandemic with Premier Palaszczuk being attacked by the federal government. She had been early in raising the potential covid-19 viral infection facing Australia in late January 2020. At the time, the federal government wasn’t sharing information needed to assist in contact tracing procedures.
In mid 2020, the premier had requested the border battles must cease.
However, the celebrity journalists had set the anti-Queensland narrative.
The Project TV had a crack at Queensland and Western Australia over low vaccination rates and their closed borders. No mention of Tasmania or South Australia, of course.
With no vaccines yet available in June 2020, even the Queensland Liberal National Party had a go with a billboard at the Qld-NSW border in June 2020.
The Tasmanian government had also closed itself off from the rest of Australia but very little coverage made the mainstream media. Recently, Premier Peter Gutwein declared, “If we were to relax border restrictions at 80 per cent [vaccinated], COVID would enter Tasmania and it would take off.” Tasmania needs 90 per cent COVID vaccination rate before fully opening borders, Premier warns.
South Australia also announced its borders re-opening plan was up to three weeks to a month away. South Australia Health Dr Michelle Atchison indicated, “The president of the Australian Medical Association’s South Australian branch met with SA Health officials on Thursday to discuss what will happen when the borders open to states such as New South Wales and Victoria.”
Gladys Berejiklian has a go at Queensland politics
The former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian had been very vocal throughout the pandemic about Queensland closing the border closure to her state.
Premier Berejiklian decided to give Qld politics a crack on the eve of the Queensland state election.
There was even a story peddled that Premier Berejiklian had come to some agreement with the then Qld LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington that the Qld border would open should she win power. The claim was quickly retracted.
Attacks likely to continue
As the federal member for Griffith summed it up today.