An infectious diseases expert says vaccines are not the answer to eliminating coronavirus from Australia, and the population is going to have to learn to live with the virus because it’s “not going to go away”.
Professor Peter Collignon said Covid is likely to become a seasonal event “much worse” than influenza, and said while vaccines won’t eradicate the virus, they will be essential to lowering its risk.
“Yes, we have eliminated this virus repeatedly, but it's so easy to come back," he told Sky News host James Morrow.
“And when it does, if you’re not taking adequate precautions and restrictions on movements, it will spread reasonably widely for at least another year probably.
“But if we want to stop all spread, the vaccine is not going to achieve that.”
Professor Collignon said vaccines will decrease the risk of death and serious disease, but people will still be susceptible to mild disease.
He said the AstraZeneca vaccine is about 60 per cent effective at stopping transmission of mild disease, while the Pfizer vaccine is “possibly 90 per cent”.
“But none if it is 100 per cent. So we’re going to have to at some stage, after we’ve protected the people who are most likely to die, come to the view at some time that some amount of virus spread we’re going to have to live with.
“Because this virus isn’t going to go away, this is going to become a winter, seasonal event much worse than influenza, 10 to 20 times worse, but if you’ve been vaccinated and the vaccines continue to work, it decreases your risk by 90 per cent, probably 95 per cent, so in effect turns it into seasonal influenza as far as deaths and severe disease go.”
Professor Collignon touched on recent news of ill side effects of the vaccines, remaining strong in his stance that the benefits outweigh the risks.
It comes as the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) concluded on Friday evening that the death of a NSW woman on Saturday was ‘likely’ linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine she had received just four days before her death.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was last week scrapped as the preferred option for Australians under 50 due to updated medical advice on the risk of a rare blood clotting syndrome.
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