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

DEBORAH KNIGHT:        

For more on the roll-out we're joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd from Canberra. Professor, good morning to you. Breaking news first up, Victoria has recorded three new cases of community transmission, all linked to this outbreak. They've been quarantining, but is this a concern?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Look, every new case is, of course, a concern. The good news with the cases which have just been announced by Victoria is that these are people who are already in isolation, and obviously the contact tracers will be working flat out with those people, making sure that any possible contacts are also in isolation so that we don't see any further spread.

KARL STEFANOVIC:      

I guess whenever we hear of new cases, people get nervous, especially in Victoria - and they've got a right to be, I guess. But it is difficult, isn't it?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Yes, understandably people are anxious every time we hear about cases. But as we've said all the way through, we do expect to see continuing small outbreaks occurring while we live in a world where there is so much COVID-19. And of course, we have the mechanisms in place in order to be able to bring those outbreaks very swiftly under control.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:        

Now, Monday the big day - the vaccine roll-out set to begin. It’s a massive operation and it's obviously going to take a lot of time before it's rolled out to the entire community. But are you confident about how it's all going to go from Monday onwards?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well, very exciting obviously, with the first vaccines being given to people from Monday, as you've mentioned. These will be rolled out through the hubs which have been established with the states and territories. And this is where the frontline quarantine workers, Border Force workers and many of our frontline healthcare workers will receive their vaccines; and at the same time, very importantly, that Flying Squad of 500 nurse immunisers who are travelling out to residential aged-care facilities and disability-care facilities right across the country to vaccinate, initially the residents, and then as we move through, also the staff.

KARL STEFANOVIC:      

I love that - the Flying Squad, it conjures great images, doesn't it? It's been revealed there's a shortage of specialised syringes needed to administer the vaccine. Are you worried that we'll see doses go to waste at all?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Yes, we're not going to see any wastage of doses. We have needles and syringes which are totally appropriate for using with these vaccines. What we currently don't have available in large numbers in Australia is what are called the low dead-space needles and syringes. And these have been utilised in a number of countries overseas and have been able to get additional doses out of the vials for some of the vaccines. These needles and syringes are a very in demand commodity at the moment, but we have on order supplies which are due to come into Australia very soon. When they come in it means that we'll be even more efficient in our ability to get more doses of the vaccine out of many vials, and hopefully that will mean we can vaccinate the population even faster than before.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:        

Yeah. Well, let's hope it doesn't impact that roll-out. What about the Facebook ban that we've seen impacting so many Australians? Not just news sites but of course, important health sites, which, on the brink of this vaccine roll-out, is that going to cause problems?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well, fortunately, the health.gov.au website hasn't been affected by the Facebook actions. But it is, obviously…

DEBORAH KNIGHT:        

[Interrupts] But other health sites have been.

MICHAEL KIDD:   

… very concerning. Other sites have, that's right. So it's obviously very concerning when any site which is providing people with essential information, especially about health care and especially at a time like this, where people can't rapidly get access to information through social media. So I understand that most of those sites are now back up and people are able to access the information, and let's hope that there's no further disruption.

KARL STEFANOVIC:      

Just finally, Professor, from a personal point of view, the people I've asked about the vaccine - I will have it straight away - but, people I know, and even in my own family, they're saying, look, they're going to wait to have this vaccine - obviously they're going to have to wait logistically anyway. But, they want to see what happens. Do you anticipate there are going to be problems in convincing the general public- enough in the general public to have the vaccine?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

Well, what we know is that there's very high intention among the general public to receive the vaccine. As people become eligible, as it's our turn - and like you, Karl, when it's my turn I will be fronting up and getting the vaccine because I know these vaccines are safe and effective, they're going to prevent serious illness, they're going to save lives, And I think that's the most important message for everybody out there: please get the vaccine when it's your turn, please encourage your family members, and especially those who are at increased risk if they were to contract COVID-19.

KARL STEFANOVIC:      

And just listen to people like the Professor.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:        

[Talks over] Exactly.

KARL STEFANOVIC:      

Lovely to have you on the show. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend.

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