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Interview with Ben Fordham on 2GB about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Read the transcript of Minister Hunt's interview with Ben Fordham on 2GB about coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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We’ve got some promising news on the vaccine front. Joining us live on the line, the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Good morning to you.


Good morning, Ben.


You've signed a deal on a coronavirus vaccine.


We have. So we've reached an agreement with AstraZeneca for what's known as the Oxford vaccine and obviously everything depends on safety and the effectiveness.

But we have the capacity now to provide for the whole of population.

So it's a whole of population deal and that's about giving Australians the prospect of getting out of this.

There's obviously more science to go but we're now in a position that we can provide for and protect all Australians, assuming that the trials are as successful as they appear to be.


You want everyone to have it for nothing?


We'll be providing it to the whole of the Australian population for free.


How do you work out the order in which people receive it?


We've appointed a medical expert panel and that's led by Professor Brendan Murphy.

But there's no sort of hidden agenda here. I think the critical thing is that our goal is for the whole of population.

And your priority naturally, as has been discussed by the PM, would start with the elderly and the health workers and those with special- special needs.

But we'd be getting it out as quickly as possible to as many people as possible, and this is a protection for everybody.


So Oxford University is leading the way on this one. They say they're up to stage three of the drugs development.

Can you shed any more light, Minister, on the timeline of when we are likely to see it, if we're likely to see it?


So 2021 is our expectation.

If it's available earlier, then we’ll be in a position to deliver it.

One of the big assets that we have in Australia is CSL has its production facilities for vaccine in Melbourne and whichever company brings a vaccine to market, will need additional production facilities around the world and we can produce for Australia, for New Zealand, for our South Pacific region to help others.

And that's a huge attraction for international companies; I know having had discussions myself with some of the global leaders in the space.

So we're well prepared to help ourselves.

We're in a position to be able to do production for others and it's a promising day.

There's still more to go on the science and the trials but we're now, as we always intended, by working quietly behind the scenes, as well placed as any country you might.


Yeah. It must be nice to finally have some positive news to share.


Yeah, it is. And Australians have done an incredible job, as you know.

We were down to three cases in New South Wales yesterday.

Victoria is still going through hard times but seven out of eight states and territories are in an extraordinary situation, extraordinarily positive.

And you know, we’ve flattened this curve once across the country. Now, we're doing it again in Victoria.

It's improving; still no more tragedy sadly to come because of the very high case numbers in previous weeks but those numbers are coming down and that's good news for all Australians.

But this is even better news for all Australians.


Great to talk to you, Minister. We'll catch up again soon.


Thanks, Ben. Cheers.


Greg Hunt, the Federal Health Minister on news that Oxford University is closing in on a coronavirus vaccine.

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