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

NATALIE BARR:   

Well, for more on the vaccine rollout, I'm joined by Lieutenant General John Frewen who is in charge of Operation COVID Shield. Good morning to you. We've got Queensland saying don't get AstraZeneca if you're under 40; we've got the Federal Government saying consult your doctor. We've got the doctors saying we're following the ATAGI advice, which says it's not recommended for under 60s. Can you see why Australians are confused?

 

JOHN FREWEN:    

Morning Nat. Great to be with you. Yes, look, I think there has been a lot of discussion in this space, but what is important is the ATAGI advice has not changed, the medical advice has not changed. And that is there is a preference for the mRNA vaccines, for those under 60, but the ATAGI advice has always been that with informed consent, people under 60 and in this case now, people under 40 can go to their GPs have the discussion and make an informed choice about taking AstraZeneca if they wish. Right now, people are very concerned about getting COVID. People have a right, if we have vaccines available, in this case we have AstraZeneca available, to go to their GPs and make a decision about whether it is right for them to get the vaccine now or to wait for later when they can get a different vaccine.

 

NATALIE BARR:   

Speaking of different vaccines, how are we going with Pfizer? Because there's so much talk about AstraZeneca and how safe it is, couldn't we get more Pfizer and give more people that?

 

JOHN FREWEN:    

Nat, this is a global pandemic and there is global demand for these vaccines. We are getting all of the Pfizer we can get right now, you'd be aware that I've released the projections for our supply out to the end of the year. We have Moderna also coming on later in the year as well. You know, right now, all of the Pfizer we get, gets fully distributed out to the states and territories on a per capita basis. Every one of the jurisdictions is getting their fair share of the Pfizer we have. That's been opened up to over 40s. We've progressively opened it up to those groups of the population that we can, with the supply we have. In the meantime, we have AstraZeneca available, and those people under 40 can make an informed choice about whether they want it or not.

 

NATALIE BARR:   

Okay. Lieutenant General, thanks for your time this morning.

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