By Ben Wilson
The rollout of the Coronavirus vaccinations falters. We have been told that the reason is Europe is holding back the supply of AstraZeneca. It is now said that Australians are reluctant to get the shot.
True, there is the connection between AstraZeneca and blood clots. This has raised some concern. But even with this, the supply is not keeping up with the demand. The ;problem is home grown.
The vaccine is not being imported since it is being made under licence here in Australia by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory (CSL). This is where the bottleneck is.
A big part of the story is dependence on one vaccine. There is no medical justification for this. The most likely reason is a commercial contract granting a monopoly. There is no other logical explanation, and the fault lies with the government.
The health of Australian citizens should never be for sale.
A far more sensible approach would be to have the biggest range of weapons to combat the pandemic. Part of this would be to have choice in vaccines. It is known that what works for one person does not work for another. Limiting choice means that some will not get the help they need.
Lack of choice is also a contributor to the shortage and failure to roll out in sufficient quantity.
It’s even worse in circumstances where we’re being encouraged to think the threat is over and taking precautions is starting to break down. This increases the risk of a new wave.
Australia has been lucky to be so isolated from the rest of the world and the rate of infection has fallen. The downside is that it generates a complacency that increases the risk of a new outbreak. It could happen at any time.
Then there is the talk about herd immunity. This is not likely to happen for two good reasons. The number vaccinated will not be enough and the virus is already mutating into different forms. The reality is that Coronavirus is here to stay.
Australia needs a strategy that will provide a range of vaccines, more investment in research training, better emergency preparation for future outbreaks. Responses should not be turned into profit opportunities for pharmaceutical corporations, which stand to compromise the health of people.