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Scott Morrison issues apology for slow vaccine rollout

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologised for the vaccine rollout not meeting its targets but insists some of the issues were out of his control.

Source: 1 NEWS

Morrison had repeatedly refused to say sorry for the bungled immunisation program which is lagging behind most of the developed world.

He said some things were within the government's control but others weren't.

"I'm sorry that we haven't been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year - of course I am," he told reporters in Canberra today.

"But what's more important is that we're totally focused on ensuring that we've been turning this around."

A record 184,000 doses were administered in the past 24 hours, but just over 14 per cent of the population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated.

The rollout started almost five months ago but the government has been forced to dump multiple targets it set for itself, including completing the program by October.

Former cabinet minister Darren Chester was the first federal government MP to issue an apology, hours before Morrison.

"I'm sorry it's taken longer than people expected, and I'm sorry that some people have lost confidence in our government and our world-class health system as a result," he posted on Facebook.

"I humbly apologise and commit to keep working with my great staff to improve the rollout in Gippsland and across Australia."

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Chester said media focusing on the tiny number of adverse reactions to AstraZeneca had damaged the vaccine's reputation.

Almost 40,000 people under 40 have received the AstraZeneca jab since the prime minister encouraged people to talk with a doctor about taking it.

Morrison continues to challenge the nation's expert immunisation panel to reconsider advice which recommends AstraZeneca only for over-60s.

There were 124 new local cases of coronavirus recorded in NSW today, the highest since the outbreak began.

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Record 124 new local Covid cases in NSW

Health authorities are bracing for numbers to go even higher with at least 70 people in today's numbers spending some time in the community while infectious.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said none of the state's 28 coronavirus patients in intensive care had received both doses of a vaccine.

Australia has ample supplies of AstraZeneca, which is produced in Melbourne, but there is not yet enough Pfizer imports arriving to vaccinate people under 40.

Medical staff wearing PPE gear take swab tests at a drive-through Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne, Victoria. (file photo) Source: istock.com

Victoria also recorded its highest daily total of the current outbreak with 26 new local cases, but only two were in the community while infectious.

Queensland will shut its border to all of NSW from 1am tomorrow, joining Victoria in putting statewide travel restrictions in place.

WA will close its border with South Australia where a cluster in Adelaide has grown to 14 cases.

After Morrison's apology, ACT Party leader David Seymour this afternoon called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to apologise to New Zealanders for the "slow rollout" of the Covid-19 vaccine "that has New Zealand at the bottom of the OECD".

"Australia is ahead of New Zealand. In fact, it has delivered 25 per cent more doses than New Zealand," Seymour said in a press release.

He said New Zealanders have been "repeatedly misled by Ardern".

“It’s time to start treating New Zealanders like adults, be straight with us about what’s going on and apologise to Kiwis for leading us to believe we were ‘at the front of the queue.’"