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Mutant COVID strains ‘will come’ to Australia, expert warns

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Experts have warned Australians not to hesitate in taking coronavirus vaccines, saying the threat of mutant strains making their way to our shores is inevitable.

A leading epidemiologist expert has warned Australians not to hesitate getting the coronavirus vaccines, saying delays could expose them to a higher chance of being infected by a mutant strain.

New statistics published by Nine newspapers found a third of adults are 'unlikely' to get the jab, citing concerns over side effects and the belief there isn't a rush so long as international borders remain closed.

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, one of Australia's leading epidemiologists, says the results of the survey are "very damaging" to the nation's recovery.

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"Yesterday we had an amazing day of 100,000 injections and that's what we need every day for a year to be able to say that we are safe to open our borders," Prof McLaws told Weekend Today.

"When we do open our borders, we will have the 'variants of concern', those very, very transmissible infections.

"I would be going for about 85 per cent of adults (vaccinated)."

She said if one in three are hesitant, that will mean that the Australian population will be at a greater risk of a serious infection.

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"All we have to do is watch the news and see what's happening in India and see the deaths," she said.

"That's the variant of concern and - in India. It will come to Australia. Other variants will come. The longer we don't get vaccinated, the greater the risk of a mutation."

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She said the "biggest group" who should be targeted in a vaccine push were the 20 to 39-year-olds.

"Because if we can get them vaccinated the majority of them, then we can ring-fence the rest of the community."

This demographic made up 50 per cent of all COVID cases last year in Australia, particularly during the second wave.

Prof McLaws added the government should be spending more money to encourage vaccinate uptake.

"We need every 20 to 39-year-old hearing an ad that they can identify with," she said.

Results of the survey come after reports that more than 200 GPs have dropped out of the vaccination rollout nationwide over erratic supplies.

Many doctors have spoken out against allocated vaccine supplies, saying that they have the capacity to administer the vaccines, but not the inventory.

Source: 9News

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