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

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Now, with the first phase of the vaccination roll out now well and truly underway let's bring in the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd in Canberra. Michael, good morning. So, are things going to plan this morning?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Yes, absolutely, it is wonderful to see the reports of those first quarantine workers, Border Force workers, and front-line health care workers lining up to get their immunisations at the hubs right across the country.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Take us through how it’s going to roll out over the next couple of days?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

So, over the next couple of days each of the 16 hubs in the states and territories will be vaccinating the high priority members of their workforce, and at the same time the nurse immunisers - the flying squads of nurse immunisers - will be travelling out to residential aged care facilities and disability care facilities in 190 towns and suburbs right across the country to administer the first doses to the residents, providing that essential protection to some of the most vulnerable people in Australia.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Okay. And for the time being, we’re talking about the Pfizer vaccine?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

That's right. So, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that we have available at the moment. We are expecting doses from overseas of the AstraZeneca vaccine to start arriving in the country over the next couple of weeks. And of course, from the middle of next month CSL will be rolling out production of the AstraZeneca vaccine onshore.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

We heard from one of the medical professionals who got vaccinated in Melbourne this morning - I think it's really the light of the morning - she talked about how Australia is now great to be on the offensive and not the defensive in trying to tackle this virus. She is pretty right, isn't she?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

I think she is. Today is a real milestone in our collective response to tackle COVID-19 and bring things, as rapidly under control as we can. So this is a very important day and I'd just like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has brought us to this point - to those researchers who have done extraordinary work at such fast pace over the last year; to everybody who has been behind this vaccine roll out in Australia; and, to those wonderful nurses and doctors we are seeing administering the vaccine in those hubs around the country.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Yeah, indeed. They all deserve a shout out. Let's talk about aged care workers, what is the health advice that means that it won't be mandatory for aged care workers in aged care homes overseen by the Federal Government to get the jab?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

That's the recommendation at the moment, Michael. But the National Cabinet has asked the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to continue to look at the issue of when and if mandatory requirements might be introduced. And of course, at the moment we can't make it mandatory because we don't have the vaccine available to everybody right across the country. The other things we don't yet understand about these vaccines - we know they’re very effective at preventing the development of serious illness from COVID-19, but we don't know if people can still become infected and be at risk of asymptomatic transmission to other people. And of course, we don't yet know how long the immunity conferred by the vaccine will last. These are things we’re going to find out over the coming months.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

So we had the Prime Minister yesterday getting publicly vaccinated to help instil public confidence in the program, and yet we see these people at the Australian Open last night booing – and there were lots of boos - when any mention of the vaccination program got a guernsey at Rod Laver Arena. Does that worry you?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Look, what we know from the research which has been carried out is that 80 per cent of Australians are very determined to get this vaccine. They understand that vaccines save lives and how important this is to getting COVID-19 under control in Australia. Yes, there are still some people who are hesitant about the vaccine. To those people I say, Therapeutic Goods Administration has gone through its usual rigorous and thorough processes to ensure the safety and the efficacy of these vaccines which are being approved for use in Australia. Please, when it comes to be your turn, please line up along with the rest of us and get your vaccine.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:    

Great advice, we will leave it there. Michael, Kidd, thank you.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Thanks, Michael.

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