A controversial decision to redirect Pfizer doses from rural NSW areas to Sydney year 12 students has not gone down well, with the call generating immense backlash from furious members of the community.
On Wednesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a four-week extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown along with introducing harder restrictions for the Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River local government areas.
But the change that has caused the most backlash is the decision to offer Pfizer doses to year 12 students across eight Sydney LGAs of concern.
Due to the limited vaccine supply, in order to do this doses of the vaccine need to be redirected from rural areas, meaning residents outside of Greater Sydney may see a delay in getting their shot.
The topic of year 12 students receiving Pfizer is already a sensitive one after about 160 students at the prestigious St Joseph’s College were given the Covid-19 Pfizer jab in “error”.
Social media was flooded with comments in the wake of the announcement yesterday, with many questioning why some year 12 Sydney students were being prioritised over those in regional and rural areas.
As year 12 students across Greater Sydney will be allowed to attend face-to-face learning, officials believe offering vaccine doses to senior students in high-risk areas will make the move safer.
The offer applies to students in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Blacktown and Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River LGAs.
Ms Berejiklian said students from those areas would be only be allowed to return to the classroom if they had taken up the vaccine offer.
She said the state had not been given extra doses from any other state nor the federal government, so some jabs allocated to regional parts of NSW would be moved to Sydney.
The NSW Teachers Federation also seemed less than impressed with the plan, with president Angelo Gavrielatos saying the decision did not “fill teachers with confidence” and he questioned whether it was consistent with health advice.
“Noting the advice that worksites and human interaction are the major contributors to transmission of the virus, we are dumbfounded by today’s announcement,” he said.
“Particularly as some of our schools with large year 12 groups will have gatherings of up to 600 people on site.”
When explaining her reasoning behind the decision, Ms Berejiklian said she didn’t want students going to face-to-face learning and then contracting the virus and passing it on to their families.
“I don’t think anybody would begrudge us for doing anything we can to get year 12 students safely back to schools.