Date published: 
21 July 2021
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd, joins us now from Canberra. Professor Kidd, good morning to you.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Good morning, Michael.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

So, as we go to air this morning, more than 13 million Australians in, some form of lockdown. This is not where we really wanted to be in the middle of 2021, is it?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

No. But what we're seeing is very appropriate and swift action by our public health authorities in each of the regions where we have these outbreaks occurring. And it's very important of course that all of us are following the restrictions and the guidelines which are in place to make sure we're protecting our own health, the health of our loved ones, and the health of everyone in our community.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

We saw the South Australian cluster growing this morning. I want to ask you about the Sydney COVID crisis. How concerned are you that the number of infected people out in the community, either fully or partially while they're infected, doesn't seem to be coming down?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Yes. Look, obviously we're very concerned about what's happening in Sydney. But again, we're seeing a very strong public health response in New South Wales. We haven't seen dramatic escalation of the numbers of new cases each day, and that's very encouraging. But as you say, there's still been some people who have been out in the community while they've been infected. It just reinforces all those important messages, Michael. The importance that if you do have symptoms, no matter how mild, that you stay home and you arrange to get tested. You don't put other people at risk, you don't say this may just be a mild cold - it may be COVID-19. So please isolate and get tested. And, and obviously, the same applies to family members, make sure that everybody's looking after each other.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Always good advice. Vaccines, as we know, are our ticket out of this. The New South Wales Deputy Premier on this show a bit earlier this morning, Michael Kidd. John Barilaro said the vaccination rollout has let us down. He's right, isn't he?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well, the vaccine rollout continues, and of course we're seeing more and more vaccine coming into the country, more of the Pfizer doses coming to the country and being distributed right around-

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

[Interrupts] But, excuse the interruption. He's, he's obviously very unhappy with where things stand at the moment.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Clearly we're seeing many more people getting vaccinate each day, and I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's involved in the vaccine roll out. We now have 6500 sites where people in Australia can go and receive their vaccine. We have general practices; we have Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations; we have great hubs which have been set up by the states and territories. And, as more and more supply comes in, and as you know we'll be getting increasing supplies of the Pfizer vaccine throughout this quarter and even more in the fourth quarter of this year; and of course, the Moderna vaccine will be coming into Australia at the end of the year as well. So as more vaccines come in, it goes straight out to those 6500 sites where people can get their vaccines.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

[Talks over] As you say, there's a-

MICHAEL KIDD:   

A big thank you to everyone who is queuing up…

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Yep.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

… to get vaccinated. It's most important the people most at risk continue to get vaccinated. And at the moment we have more than 75 per cent of people over seven 70 who have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Very important that those who haven't yet received their vaccines do so.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

If they can get their vaccines. Speaking of people at risk, why on earth are 57 per cent of aged care workers, Michael Kidd, yet to receive a single dose of vaccine as we head towards the end of July?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

So as you know, the National Cabinet has decided that it would be mandatory for workers in aged care facilities to be vaccinated from the middle of September. And measure are now in place to ensure that everybody who is working in those facilities will be able to be vaccinated by the time that deadline appears. So, more and more sites…

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

[Talks over] Can we get, can we get there?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Where people can get vaccinated, more roll out-

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

[Interrupts] Can we get vaccinated by the middle of September if only 50- If 57 per cent of aged care workers, as you said, 1A people, the most vulnerable given what happened in aged care in Victoria last year, are not vaccinated with at least one dose now, how can we get to that mid-September deadline?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Look, I'm very confident we're going to achieve that deadline.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Okay.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

We're seeing extraordinary results in many parts of the country, and people lining up to get their vaccines. Prioritisation for people working in aged care to get their vaccines as well.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

The Pfizer rollout, as you mentioned there, really hits its traps in the last quarter of the year from October. So, we're talking about a 10-week gap before we get there. We're at 14 per cent fully vaccinated at the moment, 11 per cent when you take in the general population. Looking at that 10-week period, Michael Kidd, won't Australians be horribly exposed to this incredibly and increasingly rampant Delta variant?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well firstly of course, there is more vaccine coming into the country throughout this quarter. We've got a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine being distributed this week. So, the vaccine rollout is rapidly scaling up. But it just reinforces the importance of adhering to all the regular public health measures. Vaccines are incredibly important, but so are the other public health measures to protect our health and wellbeing.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Okay. Michael Kidd, listen, really appreciate you coming on - apologies for the sometimes robust questions.

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