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Why an infectious diseases expert thinks vaccine rollout criticism is ‘unfair and unreasonable’

Neil Mitchell
Queue at vaccination centre

An infectious diseases physician, former WHO advisor and member of the Infection Control Expert Group which advises the federal government on COVID-19 says criticism of the vaccine rollout is too harsh.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino yesterday dubbed the rollout “an absolute shambles”.

Professor Peter Collignon says that’s “a bit unfair and unreasonable”.

He says Australia’s lack of Pfizer supply comes down to international shortages.

“We are in a very fortunate position in Australia. We are one of the few countries that have had not any significant ongoing transmission … Melbourne last year was not very good but by world standards it didn’t go through a large percentage of population,” Professor Collignon told Neil Mitchell.

“We’re being unrealistic if we think because we throw a lot of money at it we’re going to get to the front of the queue.”

Professor Collignon says Pfizer supply shortages will likely remain an issue for a few months.

“We’re getting about 200,000, maybe 250,000, shots a week being imported. That is not going to improve, I would think, in under a couple of months,” he said.

“Things will be rosier, I think, in about three months.

“This winter is an issue.”

He also shared a message for older Australians.

“Those who need to get vaccinated the most — those over the age of 70, those over the age of 60 — there is enough vaccine for you and it is silly to not get vaccinated with the vaccine we’ve got available in Australia that is very effective.

“The benefits are so much higher than the risk of the vaccine. You are silly if you’re over the age of 70 not to get vaccinated.”

Press PLAY below to hear more of Professor Collignon’s thoughts on the vaccine rollout

Neil Mitchell