Mike's Minute: Why didn't the Govt lobby for more vaccines?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Jul 2021, 10:07AM

Mike's Minute: Why didn't the Govt lobby for more vaccines?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Jul 2021, 10:07AM

It turns out I was wrong; the Prime Minister has talked to the head of Pfizer. Trouble is she clearly didn’t do what she should have.

This all comes out of the embarrassment, if not shame, Scott Morrison is facing over never having picked up the phone to Dr Albert Bourla, the global head of Pfizer. Kevin Rudd did and subsequently told everyone who would listen all about it. That's the sort of person he is.

So Morrison is quite rightly taking heat on what is astonishingly, given their Covid response so far, a completely cocked up vaccine rollout.

I was wrong because given our rollout, or "strollout" as they call it in Australia, is even slower, I suggested Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins won't have talked to Dr Bourla either.

The Herald chased the detail and reported Ardern has in fact talked to him twice. Hipkins hasn't. He hasn't talked, it would appear, to anyone at Pfizer. Not even the person who answers the phone.

But here is the problem, Ardern didn’t do what she should have, which is get more vaccines.

The examples are many-fold, led by Benjamin Netanyahu who called Dr Bourla 30 times and basically solved his country's problems. Israel leads the world now. They're vaccinated, booster jabs are being offered, and back to normal. The EU and Ursula von der Leyen got hundreds of millions of doses, as did Canada, and so the list goes.

As more information on this whole fiasco is dug out it's become more and more clear this government's approach has been exposed. They didn’t want to lobby for anything, improve anything, grow anything, or chase anything.

The revelation last week that they could have paid $40 million as a priority payment is a scandal in itself. They still won't answer our questions on that. My suspicion is because they know how bad the answer would be.

The simple up and down of it is we don't need to be as bad as we are, we don't need to be 125th in the world, and we don't need to be the country with no plan.

Hipkins claims paying the $40 million would be unethical. What's unethical is not putting your country first. What's unethical is being on the phone with a bloke who can solve your problems and doing nothing about it.

It's my fault, I should have known. Of course, Ardern called him.  That's what she does. Talk, talk, talk, and more talk.

But unlike Netanyahu,  von der Leyen, or Justin Trudeau, the talk is where it stopped. Doing anything is not in her purview.

So, in answer to the Herald's headline, how much has Ardern lobbied Pfizer over vaccine supply? The answer is not at all.