Australians get a hint about when they’ll be allowed to travel overseas again – but Scott Morrison refuses to set a date
- PM says borders can open when vaccine effects on transmission known
- Concerns that vaccines may not halt actually Coronavirus transmission
- Brendan Murphy says restrictions could ‘loosen’ in second half of 2021
- Limited Coronavirus vaccine doses to be rolled out by end of February
- Australia is flagged to receive 10million doses of Pfizer jabs to start in March
- But most Australians are likely to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
- Prime Minister earlier vowed to see all Australians vaccinated by October
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made it clear what needs to happen for international travel to resume.
The PM said before the borders can open the effectiveness of a widespread vaccination program on the pivotal issue of virus ‘transmissibility’ needs to be understood.
‘The key thing that I think is going to impact on that decision is going to be whether the evidence emerges about transmissibility and how the vaccine protects against that,’ the PM said in a live Facebook Q&A interview hosted by Newscorp.
‘And until we know something about that, I’m not going to lead people on.’
Scott Morrison: ‘I’m not going to lead people on’ about when they can travel overseas until we know more about what vaccines will do
Brendan Murphy (left) and Scott Morrison (right) said orders being reopened for overseas travel comes down to what effect vaccines have on the key issue of virus transmissibility
Morrison’s Department of Health Secretary, Dr Brendan Murphy gave a little more detail – but not much.
‘I think it would be if we have really good efficacy in a vaccine, we could start to see some recommendations about restrictions lessening progressively over the second half of this year.’
‘But beyond that, I wouldn’t want to make a prediction either.’
What this means is that officials want to see whether vaccinated people continue to transmit Covid before they make a decision on opening the borders.
There have been fears expressed that even vaccination may not stop transmission.
While the various vaccines against Covid-19 and its variants do prevent most from developing serious symptoms and dying, the main products may not prevent the virus continuing to spread.
Meanwhile, Australia’s vaccination rollout plan are being put under the microscope this week.
Australia has ordered over 10 million doses of the Pfizer jabs which are expected to roll out in March (pictured: healthworker receiving covid vaccination)
Pfizer and AstraZeneca will face an inquiry from politicians wanting answers about Australia’s March vaccine roll out (pictured: stock of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine)
A limited vaccine rollout – for frontline healthcare workers, aged care workers and hotel quarantine staff – begins this month, before an expansion in March.
Coronavirus vaccine giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca are set to face a grilling from politicians hunting answers about Australia’s immunisation effort.
The Senate’s coronavirus response committee will on Thursday hear from two of the companies the federal government has struck a deal with for a combined 63.8 million vaccine doses.
There are concerns the rollout could be delayed with the European Union locked in a dispute with the pharmaceutical companies over supplies.
But the federal government insists the first Pfizer jabs will start late next month, with the company not flagging complications for the 10 million doses it is contracted to deliver to Australia this year.
Australia has struck a deal with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to distribute 63.8 million vaccine doses to the public
In Europe, Pfizer is delaying deliveries, while AstraZeneca’s initial shipments have been smaller than first promised.
The EU is planning to slap export controls on vaccines produced within its borders, including Belgium where Australia’s Pfizer order is being made.
Pfizer Australia’s medical director Krishan Thiru and market access boss Louise Graham will front the inquiry.
AstraZeneca Australia’s senior medical director Carla Swemmer and market access director Alice Morgan are also due to appear.
Therapeutic Goods Administration boss John Skerrit will give evidence about vaccine approval after Pfizer received the green light on Monday.
AstraZeneca is expected to become the second vaccine to be granted provisional approval.