A newsreader has revealed how the nation’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 Kyle and Jackie O radio show, says vaccination hesitancy around AstraZeneca, which has been linked to a rare blood clotting condition, could prolong Sydney’s lockdown by another four months.
In a video on Instagram, the journalist said despite widespread side effect concerns, the Oxford jab is safer than the contraceptive pill and Viagra, and could have the nation fully vaccinated by early September.
‘Australia still has 17million vaccines to jab into arms but we don’t have those vaccines yet,’ he said.
Brooklyn Ross (pictured) has highlighted how the nation’s beleaguered vaccination program could be fast tracked if Australians take up the AstraZeneca jab rather than waiting for Pfizer supplies
‘We get a million doses of Pfizer every week from Europe, but if we keep choosing Pfizer over AstraZeneca, it is going to take us five months to get us fully vaccinated, that is around December.’
As AstraZeneca is produced in Melbourne, Mr Ross said the country has an ample supply and could ramp up production if there was greater demand.
‘We could be making two and a half million doses every week,’ he said.
‘If we all got AstraZeneca, we could be 80 per cent vaccinated within five weeks. So Pfizer means four unnecessary months in lockdown.’
However, Mr Ross said the biggest obstacle to wrapping up the rollout is the pervasive misconception the jab is dangerous, despite coronavirus being deadlier.
He said AstraZeneca is not riskier than any other ‘safe’ and commonly used medications, but the fear of the vaccine will ‘devastate Australia’s economy’.
Mr Ross is a newsreader for Sydney’s leading breakfast radio show, Kyle and Jackie O (pictured together)
‘The chance of dying from a blood cot from AstraZeneca is one in a million,’ he said.
‘You have probably heard that the contraceptive pill and viagra are way more dangerous.
‘If you go out and catch Covid-19, you have a one in 300 chance of dying. That is 3000 times deadlier than AstraZeneca.’
Mr Ross said studies have also shown AstraZeneca provides greater long-term protection against the virus than Pfizer and is better at reducing symptoms, should someone still catch the illness.
He said the ticket to freedom as the Harbour City battles the highly infectious Indian Delta variant is to get as many residents vaccinated as soon as possible.
‘Every single person who thinks it over and decides to get AstraZeneca rather than Pfizer is literally helping us get out of lockdown earlier,’ he said.
‘If you can do it, thank you.’
The video has gone viral, racking up more than 160,000 views, with many praising the news broadcaster for reducing the stigma associated with the jab.
Mr Ross said 80 per cent of Australians could be fully vaccinated by September if everyone takes up the well-stocked AstraZeneca jab. Pictured: People queue to receive their vaccination at Homebush earlier this month
The federal government has been accused of sparking vaccine hesitancy by providing mixed messages about which doses are recommended for different age groups.
In June, the Morrison government declared AstraZeneca unsafe under 60s, under advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI), before weeks later opening the vaccine up to under 40s who have first consulted their GP.
In light of Sydney’s Covid outbreak, ATAGI has changed its recommendations, with those under 40 now urged to take up the vaccine as the health risks of catching the virus are greater than the jab.
Mr Ross’s advice comes as Sydneysiders brace for the city’s gruelling lockdown to be extended by a month as health authorities continue to grapple with climbing Covid case numbers.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet met on Tuesday to put together a roadmap out of the health emergency that has engulfed 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.
Cabinet reportedly opted to extend the lockdown for four weeks – a blow for already struggling businesses.
That means the lockdown won’t end until August 28 – nine weeks after the city first entered the severe restrictions. It was due to end on Friday.
The crisis plan will tweak measures in the greatest areas of concern in Sydney’s southwest and western Sydney where infections are surging.
Th premier has flagged restrictions could tighten in those areas, and ease in others that haven’t fared as badly.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is tipped to announce a lockdown extension on Tuesday as health authorities grapple to contain the state’s latest Covid outbreak
Sydneysiders are bracing for the city’s lockdown to be extended for another month as Covid cases continue to soar. Pictured: Shoppers wait to be served outside a store in Campsie on Tuesday
The construction industry – abruptly shut down on July 19 due to significant workplace transmissions – could be reopened on Saturday but it’s unlikely to resume in Sydney’s west and southwest.
A singles bubble is on the cards for people who live on their own, while the government is also tipped to introduce rapid antigen testing for Year 12 students to get them back to school as well as for essential workers.
Meanwhile, immunisation rates continue to tick higher with 16.7 per cent of Australians now fully vaccinated against the disease which has killed 920 people nationally.
The Morrison government has added pharmacists to the priority skilled migrant list ahead of thousands of chemists joining the immunisation effort.
Although Pfizer imports and locally produced AstraZeneca shots are the cornerstone of the vaccine strategy, there are fresh concerns about the federal government’s vaccine portfolio with questions over mooted Moderna and Novavax.
Between 87,000 and 125,000 weekly doses of Moderna were forecast to join the rollout in September – if the medicines regulator approves it for use – which is expected to rise to 430,000 to 615,000 a week in the final three months of the year.
However, South Korea, which has a contract for 40 million Moderna doses, has revealed its delivery schedule will be delayed because of manufacturing issues in Europe.
A woman passes a doctor’s surgery offering both the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove
So far, only around 16.7 per cent of Australians are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Pictured: A health official conducts temperature checks at a Sydney vaccination clinic
South Korean health officials said the company had told them the issue would affect other countries.
Earlier in the week, Health Minister Greg Hunt expressed confidence in Moderna deliveries.
He also confirmed initial doses of Novavax, which is also yet to be approved, were on track to arrive in Australia before the end of the year.
Novavax is now seen as a booster rather than a primary vaccine which it was previously considered.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the change in strategy showed the vast bulk of that vaccine wouldn’t arrive until next year.
‘This is a further setback in terms of vaccinating the numbers in the population that we need to avoid lockdowns,’ he said.
‘That’s costing jobs. That’s costing our economy.’
More than 185,000 of the 11.3 million doses which have been administered were injected on Tuesday, five months after the rollout started.
The latest lockdown extension is expected to see stay-at-home orders remain in place until August 28