Australia must vaccinate fast, open its borders this year and be ‘comfortable’ with Covid spreading again deputy chief health officer declares – amid warnings we face becoming a ‘hermit nation’
- Ex-deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth made the recommendations
- He also condemned some doctors spreading ‘misinformation’ about vaccines
- Detailed report has recommended Australia be more ‘adaptable’ about Covid
- Report said ignoring expert advice could see Australia become a ‘hermit nation’
Australia needs to vaccinate in larger numbers, re-open its borders and even be ‘comfortable’ with Covid potentially spreading again in communities, a leading health officer has declared.
In a recent speech delivered at the Royal Australian College of Surgeons annual scientific meeting, Dr Nick Coatsworth warned against a ‘vocal few’ activist doctors using social media to undermine public confidence in vaccines.
‘Waiting [to vaccinate] is not a valid option either individually or for public health,’ he said.
Dr Coatsworth’s comments come after a report that warned Australia could ‘lose a decade’ and become a ‘hermit nation’ if the expert advice is largely ignored.
Former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth (pictured) says Australia needs to prepare for reopening international borders and the reintroduction of Covid in the community
Dr Coatsworth also condemned some doctors who have questioned the effectiveness of certain vaccines in Australia (pictured people lining up to check in for a flight from Sydney Airport)
‘Ultimately when we allow Covid-19 back on our shores and it circulates in our community, we [need to be] prepared and comfortable for that to happen.’
The federal government has indicated international borders could be re-opened in the first half of next year – based on projections that most of the population will be fully vaccinated by then.
Dr Coatsworth said ‘misinformation’ from some doctors has the potential to undermine the vaccination national program.
He pointed to some doctors being ‘anti’ AstraZeneca and deliberately promoting Pfizer as a ‘better’ option.
‘That is not advocacy, it is not policy debate, it is narcissism thinly cloaked as activism,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘There is a big difference between someone who has a medical degree in a particular sub-specialty to our top vaccination experts.’
Dr Coastworth’s series of recommendations comes as close to half of the 150 Australians booked on the first repatriation flight home from India on Friday were not allowed to board the plane.
A total of 42 had tested positive for Covid, forcing them to remain in the Covid-ravaged nation, where the reported number of deaths stands at over 266,000 people – and the figure is rapidly rising.
On Friday, former NSW Premier Mike Baird launched a report, dubbed ‘A Roadmap to Reopening’ which outlined the importance of Australia opening its borders as soon as possible in 2022.
Authors of the detailed report include the likes of respected Sydney based lawyer Mark Rigotti, University of Sydney school of architecture dean Robyn Dowling, and PricewaterhouseCoopers chief executive Tom Seymour, according to Perth Now.
A report, dubbed ‘A Roadmap to Reopening’ which outlined the importance of Australia opening its borders as soon as possible in 2022 – was launched by former NSW Premier Mike Baird on Friday (pictured an international traveller)
Failure to re-open the borders as soon as possible in 2022 could see Australia become a ‘hermit nation’ according to the report
‘If Australia is not ready to re-open effectively when the world recovers from the worst of the pandemic, we face enormous dislocation socially and prolonged pain economically,’ the report reads.
‘We need to move from the anxiety of the last year to a more confident and outward looking future.
‘If we do not, it is no exaggeration to say that young people, in particular, face a lost decade.’
The report goes onto suggest a three step approach to re-opening.
Widespread and rapid vaccination is highly recommended, followed by detailed testing of overseas arrivals.
A detailed quarantine system factoring in the needs of different employment industries was also viewed as integral.
‘Safe re-engagement requires industry and place-specific strategies anchored in public health principles – by guiding by the objective of reopening our society – not reverting into a hermit nation,’ Mr Rigotti said in a statement