Date published: 
30 March 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

LEILA MCKINNON:         

A huge contact tracing effort is underway in Brisbane this morning, as health authorities scramble to stop the spread of the latest COVID cluster.

KARL STEFANOVIC:       

Yeah. The city is just 15 hours into a snap three-day lockdown after recording four new cases of community transmission. For more we're joined by Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan, in Canberra. Alison, thank you so much again for your time, it's always good to talk to you. How does a- Can we start with this, a frontline worker treating a confirmed COVID case in Queensland and not be vaccinated?

ALISON MCMILLAN:      

Well, Karl, it's my understanding that we don't yet know that she contracted it at work. We need to wait for that genomic testing to ensure where, in fact, she acquired the infection. And I understand also that she was on holiday, so we have not been able to get to every healthcare worker working on the direct line straight away - so, let's see what the evidence actually tells us. But we are working to ensure that all of our, such important frontline workers, are vaccinated as quickly as possible.

LEILA MCKINNON:         

I mean, shouldn't all frontline healthcare workers, everybody in hospitals, have been vaccinated by now?

ALISON MCMILLAN:      

Well, that's what we're trying to achieve, but there is a big population of healthcare workers and they work shifts, they move around the system. So, we're getting to it as quickly as we can. And also, it is voluntary, so they have a choice if they get vaccinated or not.

LEILA MCKINNON:         

It just seems so slow compared to overseas.

ALISON MCMILLAN:      

I think that it's not as slow as overseas. It is a big population, we're a big country. We'll- We're working as quickly and as hard as we can through all our partners in the states and territories to get to everyone just as soon as we can.

KARL STEFANOVIC:       

I don't know that it washes, Alison, with the general public. They see all these vaccinations, they see them rolling off the production line here in Australia, and we're talking about 43 per cent of healthcare workers in Brisbane, for example, who, who have only been vaccinated. The numbers just don't add up.

ALISON MCMILLAN:      

It is, it is, you know, it is a push to get as much of them as we can. I think that, that Queensland have had more than 100,000 doses delivered to them since the commencement of the program, and we're hoping to see them get to absolutely everyone. I think this has been a further push or emphasis to see this, that particularly, the frontline healthcare workers vaccinated.

LEILA MCKINNON:         

Okay. Alison McMillan, thank you very much in Canberra.

Contact

Departmental media enquiries

Contact for members of the media

news [at] health.gov.au (subject: Media%20enquiry%20-%20News%20item%20ID20554, body: URL - https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.gov.au%2Fnews%2Fchief-midwifery-and-nursing-officer-professor-alison-mcmillans-interview-on-the-today-show-30-march-2021)

View contact