A media report critical of the NSW vaccine rollout has sparked a furious response from the state's health minister directed at his Liberal Party colleagues in Canberra.

Brad Hazzard said he was "extremely angry" over the report, which claimed that his health officials had only managed to get about half of vaccine doses delivered by the federal government into people's arms.

"I am as angry as I have ever been in these 15 months of war against this virus," Mr Hazzard said on Wednesday.

He and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian both appeared to blame the federal government for the story's source material, exposing a rare rift within the Liberal Party.

"I am extremely angry and I know there are other health ministers in the country who share similar views, state and territory health ministers," Mr Hazzard said.

"It is not appropriate that we wake up and find figures put into the media that haven't been shared with any state or territory governments. It is not appropriate that those figures be put in a light that is misleading."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, too, was disappointed, calling the report "misleading" and the situation "extremely unfair".

Both said they'd drawn the conclusion the news article was sourced from numbers provided by the federal government, and questioned why their colleagues in Canberra would try to undermine their COVID-19 response.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “extremely angry”. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “extremely angry”. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

"Please note, as many of you here and at home would know, for many weeks, I have been saying to the Commonwealth, to the federal government, NSW is ready and willing to make sure that we support you in the vaccine rollout," Ms Berejiklian said.

While the coronavirus pandemic has seen some heated exchanges between state leaders from opposing political parties - including frequent clashes between Ms Berejiklian and Queensland's Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk - the Liberal and National coalition government in Canberra has mostly appeared in lock-step with their colleagues from the same parties in the NSW government.

But on Wednesday a division between NSW and Canberra was on full display.

The news report claimed NSW had been handed some 190,000 doses from the Commonwealth, but only administered about 96,000 of them.

Mr Hazzard took the opportunity to hit back at the federal government, saying their own vaccine rollout had been less than perfect.

"Let's get this really, really clear: The NSW government was asked to roll out 300,000 vaccinations to the groups in 1A and 1B. Of that we have done 100,000," he said.

"The Federal Government was asked and is responsible for 5.5 million people and they have rolled out 50,000. I think the figures speak for themselves."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the report was misleading. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the report was misleading. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Ms Berejiklian said the figure of 100,000 was "conservative" and that the total number of doses administered in NSW was closer to 150,000.

The spat came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison missed a vaccine deadline he himself had set - by 3.4 million doses.

Mr Morrison said in January that he wanted four million people to be vaccinated by the end of March.

But just over 13 per cent of that target, or half a million COVID-19 vaccine doses, has been administered as of March 28.

When it comes to the coronavirus vaccine rollout, the federal and state governments have divvied up responsibilities, with the Commonwealth responsible for some sectors, including aged care, while states would take care of others, such as frontline health workers.

Australia is currently in phase 1b of its national rollout, meaning people aged over 70, general health care workers, those with an underlying medical condition and Indigenous Australians over the age of 55 are currently eligible.

Police, defence and fire officials, emergency services workers and slaughterhouse workers are also included in phase 1b.

The previous phase was meant to vaccinate aged care staff and residents, and frontline health workers and others involved in quarantine programs.

Originally published as 'Extreme anger': Minister blows a fuse



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