Labor leader Anthony Albanese believes Australians should be granted access to coronavirus vaccines before March if the immunisations are approved by authorities.
Mr Albanese questioned why officials would wait until March to begin administering vaccines if they have been green light by health personnel months earlier.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on Wednesday revealed Australia will likely have two vaccines to roll out in March.
But Mr Albanese said the logic behind waiting for a set date after approval has been given is nonsensical after the US, UK and Europe fast tracked their vaccines.
Anthony Albanese said coronavirus vaccines should be rolled out earlier than March if approved by authorities
Australia has made deals to get hold of 68.3million doses of two COVID vaccines. Pictured: patients queue at a coronavirus pop up testing facility in Avalon
‘Labor respects Therapeutic Goods Administration processes but if it approves the Pfizer vaccine in January, it makes no sense not to have access until March,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Professor Kelly said three vaccines have been or will soon be approved in other countries and Australia has access to two of them.
The three jabs have been made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna and Australia has deals to get hold of a combined 68.3million doses but none from Moderna.
Mr Albanese is pushing for the federal government to secure more doses of the vaccine so we can vaccinate the country at a faster rate.
‘We clearly need more than 10 million doses. In short, more doses, more quickly,’ he said.
On the contrary, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not planning on rushing any vaccines as he believes Australia’s low coronavirus numbers give us time to watch the roll out and success of the vaccines around the world.
Officials revealed on Wednesday Australia will likely have two vaccines to roll out in March
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said that three vaccines have been or will soon be approved in other countries and Australia has access to two of them
The vaccines, which all require two injections three weeks apart, are expected to be approved by Australian regulators in late January and rolled out in March.
Professor Kelly said everyone who wants one should be able to get a jab before the end of next year but there will be a queue with the elderly and health workers prioritised.
He warned that the vaccines reduce symptoms but do not stop transmission, meaning international travellers will likely remain locked out even if they have had a jab.
‘Unfortunately, the vaccines that we know most about don’t appear to demonstrate any protection from transmission of the virus,’ he said in a press briefing.
‘They are very effective at stopping disease from the virus in an individual person, but it may well be that that transmission might continue.’
Australians will reportedly be split into 12 different age groups that will determine how soon they receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s rolled out in early 2021.
The exact order of immunisation for certain age groups won’t be revealed by the Federal Government until late January
Front line healthcare workers will be prioritised, followed by those over 70 and the 65-69 age bracket. The rest of the nation will be divided into five-year increment age groups.
This means Australians in their 20s hoping to travel overseas will likely have to wait until the end of next year to get the vaccine, according to News Corp.
Qantas announced last month that passengers must show proof they’ve been vaccinated before being allowed to fly internationally.
There likely won’t be any under-18-year-olds receiving the jab at all in 2021 as pharmaceutical companies aren’t looking for approval in younger Australians because they are a less at risk.
The exact order of immunisation for certain age groups won’t be revealed by the Federal Government until late January.
People over 70 will be prioritised, followed by the 65-69 age bracket. The rest of the nation will be divided into five-year increment age groups
Experts will establish which groups are considered essential workers and will be bumped up in line to be vaccinated.
Front line healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses and paramedics, as well as those in aged care will be the first to access the vaccine.
Prisoners and guards will also be among first in line as their close living proximity poses the greatest risk of spreading the virus.
Despite a vaccine trial at the University of Queensland being dumped due false positive HIV test results, Health Minister Greg Hunt expects to have early assessment of two leading vaccines – one from Pfizer and the other from AstraZeneca – by the end of January.
Australian regulators will then be asked to give the drugs the tick of approval, putting the national rollout on track to begin in March.
WHICH VACCINES HAS AUSTRALIA SECURED?
Due to arrive early 2021, but is already being rolled out in the UK and has been approved for use in Canada.
Australia secured a deal for 10 million doses, if it proves safe and effective and is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Each person would need two doses, meaning Australia’s initial order would only cover five million Australians.
Australia initially ordered 40 million doses. An extra 11 million doses were ordered on Friday, taking the total to 51 million.
University of Oxford:
There have been 33.8 million doses secured for Australia. Some 20 million more doses have now been ordered, taking the total to 53.8 million.
University of Queensland:
Australia had ordered 51 million doses. However, the deal has been scrapped after trial participants returned false positive results for HIV.