Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview on Sunrise on 6 October 2021

Read the transcript of Lieutenant General John Frewen's interview on Sunrise on 6 October 2021 about coronavirus (COVID-19).

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EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: And Australia has passed a major vaccine milestone, with over 80 per cent of the eligible population having had their first jab. More than nine million Pfizer and three million Moderna doses will arrive this month, that's enough to fully vaccinate the entire population, meaning the focus has now switched from to convincing COVID-free states to get vaccinated.

Joining me now is the man coordinating the rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen. Good morning to you John.

JOHN FREWEN: Gidday, Edwina.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: Vaccine hesitancy, we focus a lot on it. Figures from around 3 per cent to 15 per cent of adults who are unwilling or unsure. How are you going to get them over the line now?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. So look, it's, it's great news that we've, we've started to hit those bigger numbers like 80 per cent first dose around the nation now - we are almost at 60 per cent. Of course it is now our, our main focus on making sure people keep coming forward right across the land, and, and there are now some, some states that are getting ahead of others and some are, are going much lower. So, we still think that offering choice and convenience, and explaining to people that vaccination is the best way to other get our freedoms back, or to, to keep the freedoms we have got in some places - for example like in Western Australia.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: There are reports of anti-vaxxers making fake vaccination bookings to disrupt the rollout. What's being done to stop that? And also counter mis information about vaccines that's out there?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. So look, the, the percentages of people who are sort of hard core anti-vaxxers are very, very low - we think they're, they're sort of single figures. But the, the messaging can be influential. So we are, we are working with, you know, all sorts of people to make sure that when we find that misinformation that we either get the right messaging out, or, or get local influences to try and counter whatever those false messages are.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: We've seen great uptake in that 12 and over group of young people getting vaccinated. What's the discussion ow about even younger kids, perhaps, getting vaccinated? And also booster shots for people who, who took it up quite early?

JOHN FREWEN: Yeah. Look, it's been awesome to see the 12 to 15-year-olds coming forward. We're getting up close to 50 per cent of them have had their first dose in only about three weeks, so that's been just absolutely great to see. With boosters, the, the science is still out on the boosters at the moment, but the, the Department of Health are working on the strategy for booster shots. I think it's possible we may see a, a third dose for those people who have, you know, compromised immune systems in some way maybe later this year. But otherwise, I think that the plan for the boosters will either be, you know I think, later this year, and- or more likely into next year when it will all become a bit like the flu shot.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: John, how frustrating is it for you to see misinformation appearing on TV, in newspaper ads, when you are doing so much behind the scenes to get the vaccine out there?

[Laughter] [Audio error]

Maybe fortunate for some that that froze at that-

DAVID KOCH: That's Craig, Craig Kelly pulling the plug.


DAVID KOCH: Yeah. No, don't ask him that.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: Craig's in the studio there with John Frewen. Thank you so much got that, John. Thank you for your time.


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