A newscaster has revealed how the country’s troubled vaccination program could be completed in just five weeks if Australians opt for the well-stocked AstraZeneca jab over Pfizer.
Brooklyn Ross, a reporter for the radio show Kyle and Jackie O, says hesitation about vaccination around AstraZeneca, which has been linked to a rare blood clotting disorder, could extend Sydney’s lockdown for another four months.
In a video posted to Instagram, the journalist said that despite widespread concerns about side effects, the Oxford shot is safer than the contraceptive pill and Viagra, and the country could be fully vaccinated in early September.
“Australia still has 17 million vaccines to target, but we don’t have those vaccines yet,” he said.
Brooklyn Ross (pictured) has highlighted how the country’s beleaguered vaccination program could be swiftly followed if Australians take the AstraZeneca jab instead of waiting for Pfizer supplies
“We get a million doses of Pfizer every week from Europe, but if we continue to choose Pfizer over AstraZeneca, it will take us five months to be fully vaccinated, which is around December.”
As AstraZeneca is produced in Melbourne, Mr Ross said the country has ample supply and could ramp up production if there were more demand.
“We could make two and a half million doses every week,” he said.
“If we all got AstraZeneca, we would be 80 percent vaccinated within five weeks. So Pfizer means four unnecessary months in lockdown.’
However, Mr Ross said the biggest obstacle to completing the rollout is the widespread misconception that the jab is dangerous, despite the coronavirus being more deadly.
He said AstraZeneca is no more risky than other “safe” and commonly used drugs, but fears of the vaccine will “devastate the Australian economy.”
Mr Ross is a newscaster for Sydney’s leading breakfast radio show, Kyle and Jackie O (pictured together)
“The odds of dying from an AstraZeneca bloodbed are one in a million,” he said.
‘You have probably heard that the contraceptive pill and Viagra are much more dangerous.
“If you go out to get Covid-19, you have a one in 300 chance of dying. That’s 3000 times more deadly than AstraZeneca.’
Mr Ross said studies have also shown that AstraZeneca offers more long-term protection against the virus than Pfizer and is better at reducing symptoms should a person contract the disease.
He said the ticket to freedom as the port city battles the highly contagious Indian Delta strain is to get as many residents as possible vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Anyone who thinks about it and decides to buy AstraZeneca instead of Pfizer will literally help us get out of lockdown sooner,” he said.
“If you can, thank you.”
The video has gone viral and has been viewed more than 160,000 times, with many praising the news station for reducing the stigma associated with the jab.
Ross said 80 percent of Australians could be fully vaccinated by September if everyone took the well-stocked AstraZeneca shot. Pictured: People line up to get their vaccinations at Homebush earlier this month
The federal government has been accused of fueling vaccine hesitancy by giving mixed messages about what doses are recommended for different age groups.
In June, Morrison’s government declared AstraZeneca unsafe for under-60s, on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunizations (ATAGI), before opening the vaccine weeks later to those under 40 who had first consulted their GP.
In light of the Covid outbreak in Sydney, ATAGI has changed its recommendations, now urging those under 40 to use the vaccine, as the health risks of contracting the virus outweigh the jab.
Mr Ross’ advice comes as Sydneysiders brace for the city’s grueling lockdown to be extended by a month as health authorities continue to grapple with the rising number of Covid cases.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet met on Tuesday to draft a roadmap for the health crisis that has been sweeping Sydney and surrounding regions since mid-June.
The meeting was held on the worst day of the six-week crisis after the state hit a new daily record of 172 locally acquired infections. At least 79 of those people were circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
The cabinet has reportedly opted to extend the lockdown by four weeks – a blow to already struggling businesses.
That means the lockdown won’t end until August 28 — nine weeks after the city first went into severe restrictions. It would be over on Friday.
The crisis plan will adjust measures in key areas of concern in Sydney’s southwest and west, where infections are on the rise.
The prime minister has indicated that restrictions could tighten in those areas, and relax in others that have not fared so badly.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian is tipped to announce a lockdown extension on Tuesday as health authorities struggle to contain the state’s latest Covid outbreak
Sydneysiders are bracing for an extension of the city’s lockdown for another month as Covid cases continue to rise. Pictured: Shoppers wait to be served outside a store in Campsie on Tuesday
The construction sector – which was abruptly shut down on July 19 due to major workplace transmissions – could reopen on Saturday but is unlikely to resume in Sydney’s west and south-west.
There will be a singles bubble for those living alone, while the government is also tipped to introduce rapid antigen testing for 12th grade students to get them back to school, as well as essential workers.
Meanwhile, immunization rates continue to rise with 16.7 percent of Australians now fully vaccinated against the disease that has killed 920 people nationally.
The Morrison government has added pharmacists to its list of priority skilled migrants ahead of thousands of chemists joining the immunization efforts.
While imports of Pfizer and locally sourced AstraZeneca injections are the cornerstone of the vaccine strategy, new concerns about the federal government’s vaccine portfolio are emerging with questions raised about Moderna and Novavax.
Between 87,000 and 125,000 weekly doses of Moderna are expected to be rolled out in September – if the drug regulatory agency approves it for use – which is expected to rise to 430,000 to 615,000 per week in the last three months of the year.
However, South Korea, which has a contract for 40 million Moderna doses, has revealed that the delivery schedule will be postponed due to production problems in Europe.
A woman passes a doctor’s office that offers both the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove
So far, only about 16.7 percent of Australians have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Pictured: A health officer performs temperature checks at a Sydney vaccination clinic
South Korean health officials said the company had told them the problem would affect other countries as well.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Greg Hunt expressed confidence in Moderna’s deliveries.
He also confirmed that initial doses of Novavax, which are also yet to be approved, are on track to arrive in Australia before the end of the year.
Novavax is now seen as a booster rather than a primary vaccine previously considered.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the change in strategy showed the vast majority of that vaccine would not arrive until next year.
“This is a further setback in terms of vaccinating the numbers in the population we need to avoid lockdowns,” he said.
‘That costs jobs. That costs our economy.’
More than 185,000 of the 11.3 million doses administered were injected on Tuesday, five months after the rollout started.
The latest extension of the lockdown is expected to ensure that home orders will remain in force until August 28th