Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview on Sunrise on 13 September 2021

Read the transcript of Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview on Sunrise on 13 September 2021 about coronavirus (COVID-19).

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DAVID KOCH:  A vaccine blitz in Victoria is getting underway, with an extra 400,000 doses on the way. Joining us now, the man coordinating the rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen. John, good to see you again. Who will be given priority access to these new vaccines?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. So we're working the Victorian authorities on the blitz down there, Kochie. So, most of these will go directly into the state hubs there, but we're also, at the same time, bringing on additional GPs and prioritising pharmacists to come on, in and around the affected areas as well.

NATALIE BARR: Okay. Let's talk these Pfizer bookings for kids aged 12 to 15 from today; where can people do that?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. So this is really exciting news. It's not just Pfizer, we'll also have Moderna coming through the pharmacies from next week. But the eligibility checker is online now, people can get in, make a booking and they can go through GPs, from next week they'll be able to go through pharmacies or they can go through any of the state hubs. It's pretty much anywhere where they can get a booking.

DAVID KOCH:  Five to 12-year-olds, need more data?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah, look, that's work being done around the world. The best way to keep those kids safe now is for the rest of their families and their teachers and the like to be vaccinated.

NATALIE BARR: So what do you say to people, families who are sitting there saying, the 12 to 15-year-olds, I'm not really sure about the safety with that vaccine for kids because they're close to the younger age group?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. No, look, we've got the ATAGI guidance now for both Pfizer and Moderna, is safe for the 12 to 15-year-olds. And you know, this is just- this is a matter of urgency, really. It's- people have got the information they need, I really encourage people to get into the system, get the bookings done and get vaccinated as quickly as they can.

DAVID KOCH: Gee, we're snagging a lot of extra vaccines from overseas, aren't we? These one's from European Union, we've had some from the UK. Is it- are these countries who have over ordered or have, sort of, got to their maximum limit of vaccinations which are slowing down, so they've got to get rid of them?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah, I mean, there's been a global demand for these vaccines, Kochie, countries are getting vaccinated so the Government, Department of Health have been working really hard to find where there are deals that can be done that are of everyone's mutual benefit. So I'm really pleased with the additional vaccines that have been secured, but we're at a point now where we've got the vaccines we need, we've got the distribution points, it's just about people getting their bookings in.

DAVID KOCH: That's good.

NATALIE BARR: Will some of these be used for booster shots? When do people need to have their booster shots? Because some people in Australia, it's getting on six months since they had their last- their first shots.

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. So the policies around boosters and the science around boosters are still being worked through, but there is- there are vaccines that have been booked for next year and the year beyond and I think we will have adequate mRNA later this year, if a decision was made for later this year. But there is certainly vaccines in place and plans in place for booster shots commencing from next year.

DAVID KOCH: Lieutenant General, you're looking a lot more relaxed, and we are too as a result. We seem to have enough vaccines now, just go get them. Thanks for joining us.

JOHN FREWEN: Thanks guys.


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