AstraZeneca COVID vaccine concerns raised, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise, 2021 Australian Open set to begin in Melbourne
“I would urge people looking at this to look at the full information not just pick one figure from that study,” he said, referring to an interim report from phase three clinical trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Professor Kelly said three different countries with slightly different protocols had been involved in the phase three AstraZeneca trial – the results of which were published in early December and form the basis of the concerns expressed by the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology today.
“The pooled result was 70 per cent [effectiveness]. In one group, it was 90 per cent. And 62 per cent was the larger group,” he said. The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology is most concerned about the 62 per cent figure.
Professor Kelly said more information was still on its way to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is ultimately responsible for approving the vaccine.
“We’ll have much more information than a five- or six-page article published in [the medical journal] The Lancet when the TGA makes its decision. They’ll have tens of thousands of pages, probably, of information,” he said.
“Once they make that decision we’ll be guided by it. At minimum, [it is an] effective vaccine. It definitely exceeds the World Health Organisation’s goal of over 50 per cent effectiveness.”
Professor Kelly said the government would accelerate its public information campaign once vaccines were approved and available, and stopped short of commenting on whether some members of Parliament were undermining the government’s own health advice on social media.
Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has become a dangerous source of dubious advice at a time when the government wants full support for a mammoth effort to vaccinate almost everyone.
“That’s their choice to do these in a democratic country that allows free speech,” he said.
“I would say this though – all along, I’ve labelled this as the social media pandemic. People should really be careful about who they’re listening to and who they’re looking [to] for advice. I would really respectfully say the Australian government and the state and territory governments are the places to go to first.”