Date published: 
20 July 2022
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

David Koch:

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly joins us now. Paul, good to see you again. Lot of these measures are advised, not mandated. What do you say to those people that go, oh, god, we're over this. I got to go back to wearing a mask.

Paul Kelly:

Good morning Kochy. I've taken my mask off because it will interfere with the with the earpiece. But seriously, I am wearing a mask inside and I have been doing so for a couple of weeks now just because I've seen the predictions of what might happen in the next month. And knowing that we have changed the future in the past by working together and mask use is absolutely one of those key issues that people can do right now to protect themselves, but also to protect others, the more vulnerable than they might be to severe disease. And crucially at this time, to protect our health system. Yesterday's figures for hospitalisations with COVID are rapidly approaching what we saw at our very peak time in January. And so we need to do everything we can do to slow the spread to help our health system.

Natalie Barr:

And what you're saying is it is not too late for each individual to make a difference. What is concerning you most about this outbreak?

Paul Kelly:

It's the sheer numbers. And the reason for those numbers are because this particular variant of the Omicron COVID virus is much more infectious. It's much closer to measles than it is to flu in terms of its infectiousness, much more infectious than previous types of the virus. That's why we need to take action and we need to take it now. And I think there's some really crucial things that people can do to support this effort.

Firstly, wear a mask inside if you're with others. Secondly, have a chat with your employer. If it's possible for you to work from home during the next couple of weeks, that will make a big difference. Thirdly, if you are due for a third or fourth dose, join those over 500,000 people, half a million people had their fourth dose last week. It was an amazing response.

We need to have people coming and rolling up their sleeves for that fourth dose or your third dose if you haven't yet had that. And finally, if you're in that very vulnerable group over 70 in particular, have a chat with your GP now to have a plan if you were to get COVID in the coming weeks to get those anti-viral treatments that can save your life.

David Koch:

More infectious than measles. Geez, I didn't realise the infection had gone up so much. Did you recommend mandating masks and were overruled by politicians? Why don't you just mandate if it's so bad?

Paul Kelly:

What I have very strongly advised National Cabinet on Saturday, the Health Ministers around the country on Sunday and in media yesterday as well as in my statement that I sent out yesterday, which is very much the same as the AHPPC a week and a half ago, is increasing mask use right now is really going to help.

Indoor mask use does stop the transmission. It will slow the spread. How that's achieved is really a matter for others.

David Koch:

Oh, I reckon you have been overruled and you're being too polite okay.

Natalie Barr:

Strongly, strongly advised. If we want to just quickly talk about the little kiddies. The TGA's provisionally approved Moderna. This is for the under five year olds. So what's your advice to parents weighing up whether to give it to their children?

Paul Kelly:

Yes. So, from six months to five years is the first tick of approval from the TGA. As people will know, we've gone through this many times about the vaccine. We do rely on the ATAGI advice, that's that advisory group on immunisation. They're actively considering that. I know they're meeting again today to consider how that should be used and for which little kiddies should have that and really weighing up the risk and benefits as they always do with all new vaccines.

So it's the first step in a range of steps. As Minister Butler said yesterday, there's a global supply shortage of this particular product. It's the same vaccine in a way, but it's a much smaller dose and a different vial and so forth. We're managing supplies of that vaccine. We will wait for the ATAGI advice. And once those two things are, there will be asking little kiddies to roll up their arms, rolled up their sleeves, rather.

David Koch:

We know that you mean All right, Paul, thanks very much for that. Appreciate your time.

Paul Kelly:

You're welcome. Thank you.

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