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Why Australia can’t (and shouldn’t) fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine

3AW Mornings
Article image for Why Australia can’t (and shouldn’t) fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine

With the Sydney COVID-19 cluster sparking fears of a wider virus outbreak in Australia there are calls to fast-track a vaccine, but an infectious diseases expert says that is neither possible nor wise.

Infectious diseases expert at the Australian National University, Professor Peter Collignon, says the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are being rolled out in the UK and US have only been approved for emergency use, and Australia should wait for more data before rushing to distribute the jab.

“They’ve given emergency approval, they haven’t given full approval,” he told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“The reason for that is if you want to give a vaccine to millions of people … you really need the data. So far the data looks pretty good for that vaccine but it’s mainly for people between the ages of 18 and 55.

“We’ve got another few months before our really dangerous period, which is winter, to actually see what happens with bigger lots of people in those countries to make sure what we get is safe.”

Professor Collignon says he doesn’t expect the majority of Australians to receive the vaccine before the end of 2021.

“There’s only so many doses you can manufacture and get to Australia,” he said.

“We won’t have everybody vaccinated in Australia .. .before the end of next year, just because of the logistics of manufacturing and sending it out.”

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