Date published: 
9 June 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Well, joining me live now is the chief nursing officer, Alison McMillan. Alison, good morning to you. The Queensland Premier yesterday had a Pfizer jab even though she's aged over 50. Are you concerned about the message that sends to people over the age of 50 about what jab they receive?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

Look, I think the question of how the Premier accessed the vaccine is probably best asked of Queensland and the Premier. We've been clear on their eligibility and the advice of the expert group, ATAGI, on how we've made that available to across the country. So I'm not going to comment on the Premier. I'll leave that to them.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Yeah. Sure. But more broadly speaking, I mean, in terms of confidence, that could well affect those over the age of 50, though, who've got to receive AstraZeneca if they see their state leader not take AstraZeneca.

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

So, Peter, again, I think that- I want to reassure all Australians over 50 that we're continuing to monitor the effectiveness of these vaccines and they are incredibly effective against preventing severe disease and death. And the incidence of blood clotting that we have seen are incredibly low and rare. And you're much like- more likely to get a blood clot if you get COVID, than it would be if you got the vaccine. So we're encouraging everyone over 50 to read the information provided to them. And please, this vaccine is our best protection against this terrible pandemic and our way out of this pandemic.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Just one more on the Premier. She said that she had to take- the delay was caused by the fact that she had to have a flu vaccine and a tetanus shot as well. But I thought the recent government advice was that for those aged over 50, that you could get a flu shot and then get a COVID shot as well.

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

Yes, Peter, we have changed some of that advice, and we particularly have done that in recent times so we can make sure that all of our aged care residents across the country can get vaccinated as quickly as possible. But again, best asking the Premier of Queensland that question rather than me.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

So- but she could have had the flu shot and then got a COVID vaccine as well.

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

That is the current advice, yes.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Okay. So she didn't have to wait two weeks. Sorry to keep you on this, but she didn't have to wait two weeks?

ALISON MCMILLAN:           

I'm going to just say it again. Look, the questions about the eligibility and the choice of vaccine that the Premier made is really a comment for the Premier and not for me to comment here today. I want to remind all Australians, though, again, Peter, that that eligibility checker is out there. Please, if you're at all confused or not sure which vaccine you're eligible to get, go to health.gov.au. You can see that eligibility checker and you can book your vaccine.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Okay. So should children over the age of 12 be vaccinated with Pfizer?

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

So we are seeing some countries start to vaccinate a younger part of their population. At the moment, we're not doing that. We'll continue to monitor the way we see and prioritise our vaccines. [Audio skip] maybe in the future that we will see children vaccinated. We know that- and as I've said before, we prioritise our most vulnerable first. And so we're focussing on those age groups. It is likely and possible that we may do this in the future. Well, let's wait and see what the TGA have got to say

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Yeah. In terms of a timeframe, that's not going to be any time soon?

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

Look, I can't speculate on that. The TGA continue to review the evidence and the data, and they do that with the expert group ATAGI. When they're ready, they'll make those announcements and we'll look to how we might then achieve that in children. Once obviously we've met our priority groups, we've outlined those over the coming months.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Okay. And just finally, on the Delta strain, Alison, is that likely, in your opinion, to be the dominant strain for a long time?

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

Look, there are multiple strains and we will continue to see the COVID- it continue to adapt and mutate. That's what these viruses do. So we're likely to see other strains emerging. The sooner we can get the world vaccinated, the less likely it is that it can mutate it. It mutates and finds it easier to do when there's a significant population infected at any one time. So we may see other strains. Importantly, it is the vaccine is very effective against these strains, encouraging everyone to follow the things that we know that help prevent spread. And again, the way out of this is through vaccination.

PETER STEFANOVIC:           

Okay. Alison McMillan, appreciate your time. We'll talk to you soon.

ALISON MCMILLAN:            

Thank you.

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