Scott Morrison has suffered an unfortunate slip of the tongue while talking about Health Minister Greg Hunt.
The prime minister was discussing the vaccine roll out during a press conference in Canberra on Wednesday when he accidentally appeared to call Mr Hunt an inappropriate swear word that rhymes with his last name.
‘On the 19th of February, Minister Cu… Hunt called the EU health minister to advocate for release of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia,’ Mr Morrison said, stumbling over his words.
It didn’t take long for the gaffe to go viral, with hundreds of social media users calling out his stuff-up.
‘Tomorrow: ‘$443m grant awarded to Great Speech Therapy Foundation,’ one Reddit user joked.
The prime minister was speaking about the vaccine roll out during a press conference in Canberra on Wednesday when he accidentally called Mr Hunt a very inappropriate word that rhymes with his last name
It didn’t take long for the gaffe to go viral on social media. Some joked that Mr Morrison made a Freudian slip about Mr Hunt (pictured)
‘Minister C**t’ doesn’t really narrow things down in this government,’ said another.
‘The most Aussie thing Scott Morrison has ever said and it was an accident.’
‘I can’t wait for the get on the beers remix of this,’ a fourth wrote.
Others joked that Mr Morrison made a Freudian slip about the health minister.
During Wednesday’s media conference, Mr Morrison said the government contracted 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab in September.
‘In late January, the EC [European Commission] introduced strict export controls which were further expanded on March 24,’ he said.
Mr Morrison told reporters that in mid-late January, AstraZeneca provided updated advice that only 1.2 million of the 3.2 million offshore manufactured product could be delivered in February and March.
‘That was 500,000 in February and 700,000 in March. That was because a range of issues, which included not just the vaccine shortage in Europe – AstraZeneca’s awareness of the increasing restrictions on export controls, and so applications were not made for those 3.8 million doses,’ he said.
During Wednesday’s media conference, Mr Morrison said the government contracted 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab in September
There are 2.5 million doses of Australian-made AstraZeneca shots awaiting testing from the nation’s medicine regulator. Pictured: Workers at CSL in Melbourne
Mr Morrison said Mr Hunt called the EU Health Minister to advocate for the release of the AstraZeneca vaccine on February 19 – when his unfortunate slip of the tongue occurred.
Australia has administered about 855,000 vaccine doses despite the government promising four million jabs by the end of March.
Mr Morrison remains adamant supply issues from Europe are behind the shortfall.
Cabinet minister David Littleproud on Tuesday went further, accusing the EU of badly letting down Australia.
‘The arithmetic is simple on this. We are three million short because of the EU, who cut us short,’ he said.
An EU official said there was no request for export to Australia under review after it emerged seven were under scrutiny, putting some shipments on hold.
There are 2.5 million doses of Australian-made AstraZeneca shots awaiting testing from the nation’s medicine regulator.
Mr Morrison said ‘just throwing more money’ at manufacturer CSL would not fix the issue.
Meanwhile, a mass vaccination hub will be set up at Homebush in Sydney’s inner west that can immunise up to 30,000 people a week – if NSW can secure sufficient supplies from the federal government.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday plans to vaccinate 60,000 people a week through 100 pre-existing sites as well as at the new hub.
Half of those 60,000 vaccines will be administered at a building to be leased in Homebush.
That number could go up if there is more demand, the premier said.
Australia has administered about 855,000 vaccine doses despite the government promising four million jabs by the end of March
NSW has vaccinated 134,323 people so far, and is expected to pass the 150,000 mark by week’s end
But she emphasised the plan depended on the Commonwealth supplying the vaccine.
‘At the end of the day they’re responsible for making sure we have those doses to be able to give out,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the federal government had to overcome some ‘big challenges’ to get the rollout on track.
The NSW government will sign a lease on a commercial facility in Homebush which will open in the next few months.
NSW was originally given responsibility for vaccinating 300,000 residents with the federal government to take care of the rest, primarily through GPs.
But the state has stepped up to take over some of the federal government’s work in light of the bumpy rollout.
The 60,000 vaccines a week will start once NSW meets the 300,000 target.
The state has vaccinated 134,323 people so far, and is expected to pass the 150,000 mark by week’s end.
Ms Berejiklian said it would be difficult for NSW to take over aged care vaccinations in the state as the federal government had already paid out contracts for the work, but said she was relieved she had pushed to control of vaccinating quarantine workers.
SCOTT MORRISON’S EUROPEAN VACCINE TIMELINE
* European Commission introduces export controls
* AstraZeneca provides advice to government that only 1.2 million of the 3.8 million doses contracted to Australia could be delivered in February (500,000) and March (700,000)
* Vaccine shortages and increasing export restrictions cited for shortfall
* Australia applies for export licences for 500,000 doses instead of 3.8 million
* Health Minister Greg Hunt calls European Union counterpart to ask for 500,000 doses to be released
* AstraZeneca told to withdraw application and resubmit a request for 250,000 instead
* On the same day, EU advises Morrison that 500,000 doses will not be approved because more time was needed. Morrison agrees
* Application for 250,000 doses submitted
* EU denies export of 250,000 doses from Italy to Australia
* Hunt asks for decision to be reviewed
* Morrison requests one million doses from Australia’s contracted supply to be sent to Papua New Guinea. He says no response has been received
* Hunt asks AstraZeneca to resubmit application to EU
* Morrison blames 3.1 million undelivered doses from Europe for slow progress in Australia’s vaccine rollout
* EU denies it blocked exports
* Morrison encourages EU to grant export licences for full balance of contracted vaccines, pledging the first one million to PNG
(Source: Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s news conference in Canberra on April 7)