Date published: 
19 February 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

LISA MILLAR:       

Let's return to the vaccine rollout, and we're joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd from Canberra. Good morning to you, Michael. Thanks for joining us. Can we just touch on these numbers we're seeing in Melbourne today, the three? Should people be worried?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Look, the very early information that we've had about the three cases which have been picked up in Victoria is that these are all people who are currently in isolation. But obviously the Victorian authorities will be acting very swiftly to make sure that all the contacts of these people have been followed up and are also in isolation and arranging to get tested. So, let's wait and hear further from the Victorian authorities during the morning.

LISA MILLAR:       

I know you and your colleagues were particularly worried about this decision by Facebook and what impact it might have on the vaccine rollout. We're hearing about this report from the Australian National University, suggesting that one in five Australians would lean against getting the vaccine. What do you do about that?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, what that means is that 80 per cent of Australians at least are intent on getting the vaccine at the moment, and a number of other people are still wondering or wavering. And it's very important that people get as much information as they can so that they can make an informed decision. So, yes, access to social media sites, the health.gov.au website, the sites for the states and territories, is very important. But also, if people need to talk to somebody, talk to your trusted medical adviser, talk to your GP about the vaccine, and get their advice about whether it's appropriate and safe for you. What we know is these vaccines are both safe and effective in adults. And we're encouraging everybody to get the vaccine, and obviously to have a talk to your GP if you have any residual concerns.

LISA MILLAR:       

We were just watching this report from Casey Briggs a moment ago, Michael, where he's talking about the huge logistical challenge ahead of you and your colleagues, that if you manage to hit the rate of getting everyone vaccinated by October, that that would be one of the fastest rollouts in the world. Are you changing that date a bit? And what are the big, sort of, challenges that you're facing as we look forward to Monday?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Yes. So we're not changing the time frame at all. And, yes, this is the largest mass immunisation program we've ever had in Australia. But Australia, of course, has been doing incredibly well at so many levels throughout this pandemic, and we do expect to be able to roll out the vaccine. As you know, we'll be rolling it out initially through hubs which have been set up by the states and territories to vaccinate those initial frontline workers in healthcare, quarantine and the borders. But we will be using our extensive network in Australia of places where people normally get vaccines, our general practices, our pharmacies. And, of course, in addition, we have this flying squad of 500 nurse immunisers who will be travelling right across the country, delivering the vaccine to residents and staff of aged care facilities and disability care facilities. So, huge logistics behind this but we have a very tried and tested system for immunising our population, and that's what we're utilising.

LISA MILLAR:       

So we're going to get enough of the syringes, we're going to get enough of the vials, they're going to move around. It's incredible to think that we could be doing it so much faster than anyone else has managed to do it.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well, many other countries, of course, are ramping up their rollout of their vaccines as well. We've seen that happening over recent weeks in the United States, in particular. The UK has had very extensive vaccination rollouts, again, utilising the existing systems of general practices vaccinating their populations. So, I think we're up there with other countries which are going to have a very swift but, most importantly, a very efficient rollout of these vaccines.

LISA MILLAR:       

And Monday is the big day. We'll look forward to talking to you and your colleagues. Thank you.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Thank you.     

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