If Prime Minister Scott Morrison gets his wish, Australians will likely face mandatory coronavirus vaccinations.
The country is a step closer to having access to a vaccine; if trials succeed, the federal government can win an international agreement to manufacture a vaccine frontrunner locally.
If this occurs, Mr Morrison said Australia should have a vaccination goal of 95 per cent, which would compensate for people with health problems this prevented vaccination.
“I would expect it to be as mandatory as you could possibly make it,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis.
“We are talking about a pandemic that has destroyed the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world, and over 430 Australians here.”
The government has signed an agreement to secure the future COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University with UK-based drug company AstraZeneca.
Unless the vaccine were to pass trials, it would be produced by the Federal Government and made safe for all Australians.
Yet that’s unlikely to be the earliest until next year, Mr Morrison said.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said he expects any vaccine that has been approved for use to be taken strongly voluntarily.
“Of course, the first will be a voluntary call for people and I’m sure there will be long queues — socially distanced, of course — for this vaccine,” he said.
“There will be very strong campaigns to encourage people and we’ve had experience before of linking vaccination with other programs, and all of those things will be looked at over time.”
Parents who do not immunise their children currently risk reductions in Family Tax Benefit A payments and losing access to the Child Care Subsidy.