Health minister Greg Hunt has slammed as “wildly inaccurate” reports of a federal cabinet blow-up on Monday.
The Australian reported late Thursday that Scott Morrison had been rolled in a cabinet meeting over a proposal to try to win over moderate MPs and save his religious discrimination bill by introducing a beefed-up version of the government’s integrity commission.
My colleagues Sarah Martin and Katharine Murphy reported that sources confirmed a discussion on such a proposal took place. Other media outlets have also confirmed the original reporting.
Asked at his press conference, Hunt – who is retiring ahead of the next election – shot down the reports:
It struck me, as somebody who was there, that it was utterly inaccurate in what was seen. I don’t believe it came from somebody who was there. I don’t care if somebody is off on the side with differing reports … the report is wildly inaccurate and would not have been given by anyone who was there.
Hunt described Morrison’s cabinet as “deeply united”.
The Novavax Covid vaccine is available for Australians to receive, with the first person in the country getting the jab today.
Health minister Greg Hunt, giving a press conference at a medical centre in Melbourne, said with the new availability of Novavax there were “no excuses for anybody” not to get a Covid jab – alluding to people who had chosen to wait for this vaccine.
Novavax uses a more traditional protein technology, rather than the cutting-edge mRNA base of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Some Australians who had resisted or declined taking the other vaccines on offer had claimed they were more willing to take Novavax due to the different underpinning medical technology.
Hunt said the government expected “hundreds of thousands” of people would take up Novavax and that “hopefully” the vaccine would be approved for booster shots.
There are those that, for their own personal circumstances, have awaited or been unable to take the other vaccines. This is a new choice. It’s a protein vaccine … a tried and tested vaccine platform.
Hunt said Novavax doses were being sent to 3,500 clinics nationwide, with bookings available from Monday.
Joining Hunt at the press conference was Angela Luttick, a woman who received Novavax today. She said she was a “virologist by training”, and had chosen to wait for Novavax over other vaccines:
I have preferred a traditional vaccine to be introduced into myself. I’m not anti-vax, I’m pro-choice, and this was my choice.
She also noted that she was co-owner of a company called 360biolabs, which she said had “supported the Novavax vaccine, we’ve done the specialty lab testing for the vaccine”.
The company had worked with Novavax on sample analysis for clinical trials of the vaccine in Australia.
In a statement, Novavax said it was conducting trials on both booster shots and a combined Covid-flu vaccine in Australia.