Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that he expects a COVID-19 vaccine to be as “obligatory as you could possibly make it” for all Australians once it becomes available.
It was revealed today that the Morrison Government has confirmed a landmark deal with drug giant AstraZeneca to produce one of the world’s most promising coronavirus vaccines currently being developed by researchers at Oxford University.
When it’s proved safe to use, Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes the deal could guarantee that Australians will be among the world’s first countries to receive the vaccine, announcing this morning that it may be available to Aussies as soon as next year begins.
“I would expect it to be as mandatory as you can possibly make it,” the PM said.
“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds but that should be the only basis.
“I mean we’re talking about a pandemic that has destroyed you know, the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world and over 450 Australians here.
“We need the most extensive and comprehensive response to this to get Australia back to normal.”
Nevertheless, in response to concerns there would be community opposition to mandating it, Mr Morrison said the government had not yet reached a final decision, and that would be achieved once the vaccine’s medical issues were identified.
Mr Morrison said there “we’ll take that issue when it presents when clinical trials are finished and we have to understand what the medical issues potentially might be and that’s why we’ll take advice on its application but … you know, I certainly open to that suggestion but that is not a position that the government has taken”.
Mitchell pointed out that there would be anti-vaxxer protests but the prime minister seemed to be unfazed.
“I’m used to that, I was the minister that established ‘no jab, no play’,” he said referring to a program that sees government benefits withheld from parents who do not vaccinate their children. “My view on this is pretty clear and not for turning.”
“We’re going to take this one step at a time,” Mr Morrison said.
“I don’t think offering jelly beans is the way to do that as you do with kids but we’ll take those issues as they present and consider what steps are necessary at that time.”