Newcastle Pfizer COVID-19 shots cancelled at Belmont vaccination hub as NSW doses shift to Sydney

Unfair: Shannon Bailey with wife Cassie, daughter Ash and son Connor. Shannon's vaccine bookings were cancelled. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Unfair: Shannon Bailey with wife Cassie, daughter Ash and son Connor. Shannon's vaccine bookings were cancelled. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Shannon Bailey - who has a lung condition - says he is "absolutely furious" that bookings for his first and second Pfizer jabs have been cancelled at the Belmont mass vaccination hub.

Mr Bailey's first shot was scheduled for Thursday.

"They're removing people from category 1b [with health conditions] to give vaccines to healthy year 12 students," Mr Bailey said.

He received text messages from NSW Health on Saturday, cancelling his vaccine appointments.

"The messages actually told me my shots are going to year 12 students, so they can go back to face-to-face schooling," Mr Bailey said.

"The deaths from the Delta strain are not 18-year-olds. I understand education is a priority, but if anything happens and I get put on a ventilator, that's on NSW Health."

Mr Bailey. from Edgeworth in Lake Macquarie NSW, has suffered asthma and respiratory troubles since he was a child. He takes a steroid inhaler daily to manage his asthma.

"I've had a collapsed lung and contusions on my lungs. There's scarring and markings on one of my lungs," he said, adding that his left lung had reduced capacity. get croup and have ongoing lung issues."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Sunday: "Today is August 1 and I am calling upon the people of greater Sydney, greater NSW to come forward and get vaccinated".

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery agreed with Ms Berejiklian that "August should be the month that we all get vaccinated".

"But that's impossible in the Hunter," she said.

She said the regions were losing 40,000 doses to vaccinate Year 12 students in Sydney's COVID hotspots.

"I don't think it's fair. There's been no consultation," Ms Hornery said.

While some had suggested this was a sacrifice we need to make in the Hunter, Ms Hornery said: "That sacrifice may be too great if we end up with COVID cases and no vaccines".

"All the people who have had their vaccine appointments cancelled are people who want to do the right thing," she said.

"It's really frustrating and it's worrying me health-wise."

Swansea MP Yasmin Catley said NSW Health had "volunteered on behalf of its citizens" to give away vaccines from the Belmont hub.

"Where is the health advice that recommends you take resources from one lockdown area and put it in another lockdown area?

"For me, it's like playing Russian roulette with citizens. It's literally making a whole cohort of the community vulnerable."

She added that people should know that vaccine bookings remain available at some GPs.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon was "angry about the NSW government's handling of the situation".

"But the root cause of the problem was the Morrison government's decision to limit our vaccine options and rely so heavily on AstraZeneca," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"We are all paying a price for that now."

He didn't believe the NSW premier's suggestion that those whose vaccines had been cancelled were "only being kicked down the road for a couple of weeks".

Mr Bailey's mum, a nurse, had urged him to book vaccinations.

"Originally I was on the list for John Hunter Hospital. I was removed off that list because there weren't enough vaccines in the area," he said.

"Then I was frantically looking around to get a booking."

When he was able to book at the Belmont hub, he felt relieved.

Then his bookings were cancelled on Saturday. He phoned the booking line and was told, 'We don't have any idea about what's going on'."

Mr Bailey asked them, "Well, what are you going to do?"

"They said to email or ring back on Monday."

Mr Bailey said the government should "wake up to themselves".

"They've been too worried about what's going to happen with the economy and not what's going to happen to the people," he said.

He believed the lockdown should have happened a lot earlier, "like Victoria has done".

"We can't contain it - it's obvious," he said.

Mr Bailey fears getting COVID-19.

"It's very hard. To tell you the truth, I have to ignore it. I can't sit there and dwell on it. My wife has just gone through breast cancer. We had to pull the kids out of school during the first lockdown because my wife was going through chemo. She finished her chemo eight weeks ago, but she still has to go through that."

This story 'If anything happens and I get put on a ventilator, that's on NSW Health' first appeared on Newcastle Herald.