Date published: 
18 November 2020
Media event date: 
17 November 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

DAVID KOCH:

Now, Adelaide's coronavirus cluster is set to rise to 18 when official figures are released today as South Australia faces a potential second wave.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd joins us now. Michael, good to see you again. There are concerns the state's contact tracing could be overwhelmed. What do you think? How confident are you that they’re on top of it?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well certainly, what we’ve seen over the last couple of days is a magnificent effort by the public health authorities in South Australia, including their contact tracers, very rapid following up of all the household contacts of the people who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and then the identification of the places where those people have been and then of course the alerts to the wider population.

The Australian Government has offered to support the contact tracing in South Australia if that’s needed and at the moment, the contact tracing people are being mobilised here in Canberra but also, the other states and territories have offered to assist if needed as well.

MONIQUE WRIGHT:

Yes. We’ve seen thousands of people flooding to COVID testing clinics across Adelaide; they’re absolutely swamped which is terrific obviously. But it made me think just that people need to remember that even though they’re tested today, they might get a negative result, they could be infected tomorrow. So just to be, you know, really, really on heightened alert to go and get retested if necessary.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well and of course, to do all the other things which we’ve all got used to doing during this year, to protect ourselves, our families and the wider community from COVID-19.

So paying attention to our hand hygiene, paying attention to physical distancing whenever we're out and about with other people and of course, very importantly, if you do have symptoms, you stay at home, you don't go to work, you don't go to school, you just go and arrange to get tested.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah. Michael, some more good news in terms of on the vaccine front overnight with Moderna announcing its vaccine; 95 per cent effective following Pfizer just last week. Australia hasn't ordered this Moderna vaccine though; we’ve got the Pfizer one. Should we be trying to secure it or are we covered with the other options?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well actually, Australia has access to the Moderna vaccine and a number of other vaccines through the COVAX facility and this is an international consortium involving a number of countries, both high-income and low-income countries, which have come together to work with these vaccine manufacturers.

So actually, there are 10 other vaccines currently in clinical trials which are part of the COVAX facility, including the Moderna vaccine. So if and when this vaccine becomes a viable option, Australians will have access to it.

MONIQUE WRIGHT:

That’s great news.

DAVID KOCH:

Oh okay. Because the Health Minister put out the statement …

MONIQUE WRIGHT:

[Talks over] Put out the statement. Yeah.

DAVID KOCH:

Saying we didn't have access but the other ones will have us covered.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, so the other vaccines we have direct contracts with four of the other vaccine companies and they’re guaranteed access with guaranteed numbers of vaccines to come into Australia. But the vaccines through the COVAX facility, we may not have the same volume of vaccines but we will have access to some.

DAVID KOCH:

Oh, that’s good.

MONIQUE WRIGHT:

About how many could we get? You know, say, of the Moderna vaccine? Or if another one overtakes it and there’s a 98 per cent, you know, effective?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. Look, I think we’ve got to wait and see what happens with the trials. So these are early results with the Moderna vaccine. They’re certainly incredibly encouraging, but of course, there’s still a lot more work which needs to be done to make sure that this vaccine is going to be safe and it's going to be effective and which groups of people in the population are going to benefit most from it, if and when it becomes available.

MONIQUE WRIGHT:

That’s good news.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright. Michael Kidd, thanks for clearing that up for us. Appreciate it.

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