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The ‘big problem’ with Australia’s COVID vaccine plan

3AW Breakfast
Article image for The ‘big problem’ with Australia’s COVID vaccine plan

A biosecurity expert says Australia has a “big problem” with its plan to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

The federal government has terminated a deal to buy more than 50 million doses of a potential vaccine developed by the University of Queensland and CSL, after several participants returned false positive readings on HIV tests.

An additional 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and another 11 million doses of the Novavax vaccine have been secured following the termination of the Queensland vaccine deal.

But professor of global biosecurity at the Kirby Institute at UNSW, Raina MacIntyre, says there’s a “big problem”.

Professor MacIntyre says Australia’s vaccine plan relies too heavily on vaccines which appear to be less effective, and we have not secured enough doses of the more promising mRNA vaccines, which include the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

“The biggest part of the commitment in our procurement plan was for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the UQ vaccine. We only had a small commitment for the Pfizer vaccine,” she told Stephen Quartermain and Tony Leonard, filling in for Ross and Russel.

“It looks like there’s a big difference in the efficacy.

The results of the Oxford/AstraZenica trial, published in The Lancet, found the jab has 90 per cent efficacy among a small group who got a half-dose first, but only 62 per cent in the majority of participants.

“62 per cent, with that efficacy you can’t achieve herd immunity and stop community transmission,” Professor McIntyre said.

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Queensland COVID vaccine trial abandoned over false positive HIV tests

3AW Breakfast