Experts advise the federal and state governments not to push Australians if and when one is available to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association, said making vaccines mandatory “send the wrong message to the community” and is adamant the change won’t be appropriate anyway.
“As soon as the government says there is a safe and effective vaccine, I think Australians will realise it’s our only way out of this crisis,” he told Sunrise.
“I think it won’t be a matter of asking people to have the vaccine, it will be a matter of making sure we have enough supplies.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed on Wednesday that he has reached an agreement with the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to procure 25 million doses of an Oxford University vaccine being produced.
It’s hoped that if trials are successful, the vaccine will be available early next year.
Mr Morrison ignited a debate when he said he wanted the vaccine to be “as mandatory as possible” to allow Australia’s economy to come back as quickly as possible.
He immediately retraced those remarks, realising that it may not be legally possible to do so.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has proposed linking vaccination to access programmes such as childcare, education or compensation for social welfare, as is done with vaccinations for children under ‘no jab, no play’ and ‘no jab, no pay’ rules.
But Dr Khorshid says he doesn’t think these tough steps are going to be needed.
“I think Australians will see that once a vaccine is available, they will realise it’s the right thing to do, it’s the only way to protect those in our aged care community and other other vulnerable people
“It’s the only way to get back to our normal lives.”