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Coronavirus vaccine ‘as mandatory as you can make it’: PM

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The vaccine would need to be given to 95 per cent of the population to make it effective, Scott Morrison said.

A vaccine for COVID-19 would be "as mandatory as you can make it" Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed.

Mr Morrison confirmed an agreement has been reached between the government and British pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca to secure 25 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Oxford University if it proves successful in human trials.

If successful, Australia would manufacture and supply vaccines on home soil.

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But the vaccine would need to be given to 95 per cent of the population to make it effective, he said.

"I'm advised we'll need about a 95 per cent vaccination rate across the country, that is the normal target range for when you're having a vaccination program and we'll be seeking to ensure that that is widely implemented," Mr Morrison told reports during a visit to the AstraZeneca lab in Sydney.

"I have a pretty strong view on vaccines, being the Social Services Minister that introduced 'no jab, no play'," he added.

"What is important to understand with any of these vaccines is it does protect you, but it also protects the community and, as is the case with any vaccine, there will be some individuals who, for precise medical reasons, can have issues with any vaccine.

"They and their safety and their health depends on the vaccine's take-up more broadly in the community. That's how they get protected. And this is an important part of our vaccine strategy, not just on COVID-19, but more broadly. We'll seek its most widespread application, as we do with all important vaccines."

Earlier, Mr Morrison told 3AW's Neil Mitchell the vaccine would be "as mandatory as you can make it".

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Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says he expects there will be a very strong take up of a COVID-19 vaccine, should trials be successful.

He says rollout of the vaccine would begin with a voluntary callout and would be followed by discussions about how to roll it out nationally.

"I'm sure there will be long queues - socially distanced, of course - for this vaccine," Professor Kelly said.

"It will be incredibly welcomed by many. It will be the absolute ticket to get back to some sort of normal society and the things we all love and enjoy.

"I think there will be strong take-up of the vaccine. There will be some who, for medical reasons, as the PM said, may not be able to take the vaccine, but there will be very strong campaigns to encourage people."

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the vaccine would give all Australians "the prospect of getting out of this".

"There's obviously more science to go but we're in a position that we can provide for and protect all Australians, assuming that the trials are as successful as they appear to be," Mr Hunt told 2GB's Ben Fordham.

"We will be providing it to the whole of the Australian population for free."

A medical expert panel has been appointed to determine who would get the vaccine first, led by Professor Brendan Murphy.

People over 60, as well as those with asthma or heart disease, transplant recipients, and cancer patients will be prioritised in receiving the vaccine.

"There's no hidden agenda here," Mr Hunt said.

"Our goal is for the whole population and your priority, naturally, would start with the elderly and the health workers and those with special needs but we will be getting it out as quickly as possible to as many people as possible."

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AstraZeneca has signed a deal to produce up to two billion doses of the vaccine, currently in its third phase of testing at the university.

Researchers hope the vaccine can be ready by October, and, if all goes well, Australians may have access to the vaccine by early 2021.

But "if it's available earlier we'll be in a position to develop it" Mr Hunt said.

It would be manufactured through CSL's Parkville plant in Melbourne which could help roll out a vaccine to supply Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Mr Hunt said.

In addition to the vaccine agreement, Australia has signed a $24.7 million deal to buy 100 million needles and syringes from US medical technology company Becton Dickinson.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-vaccine-australia-mandatory-as-you-can-make-it-scott-morrison-news/bcad8ece-1999-49e7-abf8-c278a59cc89a

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