Media Releases


September 08, 2021

Freedom of Information documents obtained by Shadow Assistant Minister for Health Ged Kearney confirm Scott Morrison’s Government failed to take up Pfizer’s initial offers to secure an early supply of vaccines to Australia.

While countries like the UK and the US were busy signing vaccine supply deals with Pfizer in July 2020, the Morrison Government ignored Pfizer’s request for urgent meetings. 

The FOI documents confirm:

  • In June 2020, Pfizer first wrote to the Government about vaccine supply, not the other way around;
  • In the weeks that followed, the Government rejected a Pfizer offer to meet with the Health Minister;
  • The Government rejected an offer to meet with senior members of Pfizer global leadership;
  • Instead, a First Assistant Secretary had an introductory meeting with Pfizer Australia; and
  • Pfizer made clear it wanted to move quickly and said it had the potential to supply millions of doses in 2020.

Lines attributable to Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

The vaccine rollout was always a race, but Australia started a lap behind because Scott Morrison’s Government took a deliberate “wait and see” approach to vaccine deals.

Australia was never at the “front of the queue”. Our vaccine supply deals with Pfizer weren’t signed until Christmas Eve.

Australians are paying the price of Scott Morrison’s failures; we have more people in lockdown and fewer people fully vaccinated than any other developed country.

Lines attributable to Ged Kearney, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing

From mid last year, Pfizer has been reaching out to the Government. Knocking on the door. Emailing the department. But no one from Morrison’s Government wanted to meet with them.

Last year Australia was in crisis and vaccines were the only way out. But for some reason, Scott Morrison was too busy to sign a vaccine deal with Pfizer.