/ 24 May 2021

A new stake in the ground on vaccinations

Hopes that all Australians who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could get their doses by Christmas were raised yesterday. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says it’s possible if 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive each week from the start of October as scheduled.

There’s more wriggle room in that statement than your fat jeans… The goal is contingent on receiving that consistent supply of the European-made vaccine – something that has hindered the early stages of the program. The focus on the Pfizer vaccine stems from the official recommendation in April that it be given to the under 50yos over the AstraZeneca vaccine that’s being made locally. Last week, the Morrison Government was again under significant pressure when a survey found almost a third of Aussies are hesitant about getting vaccinated due to safety concerns and because they aren’t in a hurry while international borders remain closed. Better promotion of the benefits of being vaccinated has been recommended by experts and seemingly everyone on Twitter.

They are, according to a new study by Public Health England. Looking at countering the Indian strain between April and mid-May, the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective 2 weeks after a 2nd dose, and AsztraZenena was 60% effective, the study found. The difference between them could be the time taken between jabs with a longer wait between AstraZeneca shots. In another encouraging development, American officials say their vaccination program is working with new coronavirus cases falling to the lowest level since June last year. “As each week passes and as we continue to see progress, these data give me hope,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky. The biggest vaccination effort in history has seen more than 1.6 billion shots delivered across 176 countries so far.

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