VACCINE COVID-19 - This was conveyed by Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly in the midst of Australia's preparations for a national vaccination which is expected to take place in mid-February 2021.
"We know that the Pfizer vaccine will be the most widely used in the world because it is the first to receive emergency use approval in the US, UK, and other countries," he said.
"But this vaccine is produced abroad. The supply that we will get is also limited," said Professor Paul Kelly as reported by the ABC.
The Pfizer vaccine also requires a storage requirement of 70 degrees below 0, creating logistical challenges.
"Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being produced in Melbourne and has progressed rapidly so that we will get large supplies," he said.
"This vaccine will be available to most of the population this time of year," explained Professor Kelly.
Australia ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last year.
Approval for the use of the Pfizer vaccine is expected at the end of this month.
As for the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Professor Kelly, approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is expected in February.
He explained, countries that have issued an emergency use agreement for the AstraZeneca vaccine have chosen to inject two doses of this vaccine.
In November last year, AstraZeneca stated the effectiveness of the vaccine reached 62 percent when given to participants who received two doses.
In another group, participants who have injected half a dose, the effectiveness reached 90 percent.
However, there were only 2,741 participants who were injected once, that is, half the dose, so it was considered too minimal to be a definite conclusion.
To build public trust, the Australian government has set aside a campaign budget of $ 24 million to spread public health messages.
Professor Kelly hopes this campaign will help build public trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Community groups that will be prioritized for vaccination in Australia include health workers, border officials at airports and ports, workers in quarantine hotels, cleaners, and transport sector workers.
In addition, priority is given to the groups of people who are most vulnerable to infection.
Although not included in the priority category, the Australian Prime Minister, together with the Minister of Health, Chair of the Opposition Party, and Minister of Shadow Health will be injected with the vaccine in the early stages of vaccination.
"We are not in the priority category, but I think it is important to build public trust," said PM Scott Morrison.
"I don't think there is any need to vaccinate all levels of government, because there are other citizens who need it more," he said.
Vaccines aren't everything
A number of vaccine experts warn that vaccination is not everything in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, because it is not yet known how effective it is in reducing transmission of the virus.
According to Professor Tania Sorrell of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, vaccination is exciting but we have to be realistic because it's not everything.
In simple terms, a vaccine will help a person's body produce antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Preliminary evidence from these vaccine trials suggests it can prevent a person from experiencing chronic pain.
However, the possibility does not prevent transmission from someone who has been given the vaccine to other people.
Vaccine expert Professor Tony Cunningham of the Westmead Institute in Sydney explained that all the necessary information could only be obtained after the vaccination program had started.
He explained that all the currently developed COVID-19 vaccines do not focus on how effectively the vaccine can prevent transmission to other people.
The Australian government hopes to obtain data on the vaccination program from Pfizer by the middle of this month.
If the data is obtained, the relevant authorities may be able to give approval for emergency use by the end of January.
However, Prof. Cunningham warned that the authorities should not sacrifice the safety aspects of vaccines just because of the pressure to immediately issue an approval for vaccine use.