Date published: 
6 April 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:                    

Now, the number of medical centres delivering the COVID-19 vaccine is set to double to 3000 this week, before expanding to 4000 clinics by the end of the month.

MATTHEW WHITE:              

It follows calls from businesses and economists to really set up mass vaccination centres to help speed up the rollout, in a similar move to what's been done overseas. But the Federal Government has ruled that option out for the moment, saying that it isn't necessary.

Joining us now is the acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. Professor, good morning to you. Let me ask you first on that subject of the mass vaccination hubs. Could you be clear, has the government definitively ruled that out? New South Wales are saying that it’s available, they could do it at Homebush and it's ready to go if they could get the right amount of vaccines and supplies.

MICHAEL KIDD:                    

Yeah, so it hasn't been ruled out at all, there are ongoing discussions between the states and the territories and the Federal Government about the best way to immunise all the population, particularly as we move to Phase 2A, which is- as you know, is going to be happening from the middle of the year. At the moment, of course, we’re rolling out the vaccine through general practices. And as you’ve said, by the end of this week, the vaccine will be available in over 3000 general practices. We already have a number of mass vaccination centres which have been established by the Commonwealth, running through over a hundred of the general practice-led respiratory clinics, which are vaccinating large numbers of people each day right across the country. So we continue to scale up the vaccination program. We’ve had a tripling of the number of vaccines delivered per week, last week compared to two weeks before. And of course, that will continue to increase as more and more sites become available over the next week.

MATTHEW WHITE:              

But those mass vaccination hubs that you’re talking about have said that they’ve struggled with supplies, that they haven’t been effective. And we’ve heard over the weekend in Queensland, many weren't open because they didn’t have enough supply.

MICHAEL KIDD:                    

So the general practice-led respiratory clinics have surety of supplies. So they’re continuing to receive their supplies. Many of them were open on Saturday and delivering the vaccine across the country.

NATALIE BARR:                    

Okay. Let's talk about Queensland University vaccine, because that's the thing that everyone’s talking about this morning. This is a- the scientists have been sort of working secretly to develop this. It's one jab, not two. It only needs to be left in a fridge. Will the government put money into this? What’s your view as the acting Chief Medical Officer?

MICHAEL KIDD:                    

Well at the moment, there are hundreds of additional vaccine candidates being developed by very clever people in Australia and overseas. Some of those vaccines are starting to go through their early phase clinical trials, and obviously we keep track on a weekly basis of what's happening with the development of each of these vaccines right across the country. If we get additional candidates, vaccines which are shown to be effective at preventing serious disease, preventing transmission, and particularly of course, now, we’re looking at the impact of the vaccines on the variants of concern, which have been appearing around the world. So we need to keep following what's happening with these developments and we expect there to be more happening over the months ahead.

MATTHEW WHITE:              

Alright. Professor Kidd, thank you for your time this morning.

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