Tense moment in suspense Sunrise presenters Natalie Barr and David Koch ask Health Minister Greg Hunt the question EVERY Australian wants answered about RATs
- Sunrise Hosts a Grill Health Minister Greg Hunt on Rapid Antigen Supply Shortages
- Mr Hunt said there were ‘challenges’ to buy RATs worldwide at this point
- Another 52 million rapid antigen tests coming from Asia and the US this month
Excited Sunrise presenters David Koch and Natalie Barr have asked the question every Australian wants to answer about rapid antigen testing (RATs) – where are they?
The Sunrise hosts posed the question to the health minister on Thursday morning as RAT shortfalls persist across the country.
Although Mr Hunt said the Morrison government has been working to secure supplies since August, supplies remain scarce and the situation is not expected to improve for weeks.
‘Where are they anyway? If you’ve started buying since August, why can’t we buy them from pharmacies and supermarkets now?” Koch wondered.
Sunrise presenters David Koch and Natalie Barr questioned Health Minister Greg Hunt in a tense interview on Thursday about rapid shortages of antigen testing in Australia (pictured)
Mr Hunt said there are currently “challenges” with RAT stocks around the world, including in the US and UK.
But Koch quickly fired back.
‘Not really. Not really. I have a daughter who sends us tests here. Because she just buys them by the bucket in London.’
“And if you’ve been buying since August … where are they?” interrupted Barr.
Mr Hunt reiterated that the federal government has provided 6.1 million tests to elderly care, with a further 66 tests approved for use by the TGA.
Mr Hunt (pictured) said the government has been securing RATs since August during a tense exchange with the Sunrise Hosts on Thursday
“The states have acquired 70 million and that is an additional supply that comes from the Commonwealth aged care along with responsibilities,” added Mr Hunt.
“The states have now started receiving their purchases, and there will be a very significant community supply coming through pharmacies and supermarkets in the future.”
A fed up Koch, who was heard sighing along with Barr throughout the interview when Mr Hunt didn’t answer their questions directly, concluded the interview by thanking the Secretary of Health before adding: “But I still can’t buy one.”
The tense exchange comes as 52 million rapid antigen test kits will arrive this month from Asia and the US through an emergency cargo delivery program.
A lack of readily available inventory has created a disastrous flow-through effect with critical labor shortages due to workers struggling to find tests needed to work, coupled with the tens of thousands isolation across the country.
A recent study conducted by Professional Pharmacists Australia found that 94 percent of pharmacies have trouble buying RAT supplies.
Another 52 million rapid antigen test kits will arrive this month from Asia and the US through an emergency cargo delivery program (pictured, a nurse performs a rapid antigen test in October)
Chief executive officer Jill McCabe said the shortage of supplies is putting increasing pressure on pharmacists, describing the situation as “more than dire.”
“Pharmacists tell us they are extremely overworked and under a lot of pressure and they don’t have the supplies and equipment they need to do their job well,” Ms McCabe said.
Others spoke of the mounting pressure they were under, including one pharmacist who said there were not enough staff to “request 100 calls per hour for RATs, while doing 80 vaccinations per day on top of the normal 400+/day script pharmacy workload.” “.
Of the 22 TGA-approved RAT kits, the majority are manufactured in China, but further delays are expected as the Chinese factories are expected to close before the upcoming Lunar New Year.