Dentists included in first batch of COVID vaccine recipients in Australia

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COVID vaccine
Photo: Dagbaev Zorikto – 123rf

Speaking at a recent press conference, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that the first tranche of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is on track to be released in Australia in the first half of 2021. 

The first recipients of the vaccine, which will only reach about 20 per cent of the Australian population, will be the elderly, aged care workers, and frontline workers including dentists, doctors, nurses and pharmacists. 

This development is a direct result of the Australian Dental Association working closely with Minister Hunt’s office and advocating on behalf of Australia’s dentists to ensure that they and the entire dental team are afforded the protection the vaccine provides. 

The vaccine, which SBS reports has a “90 per cent effectiveness rate in late-stage clinical trials [although] … more data [is needed] to confirm it’s safe”, will be rolled out using a sophisticated cold chain logistics system beginning in March next year, according to Minister Hunt. 

According to a report via the News Corp Australia Network, news of the vaccine’s efficacy and release in 2021 has largely met with a positive response but it warns this does mean a return to pre-COVID normal.  

CSIRO’s director of biosecurity Dr Rob Grenfell said the vaccine would prevent people getting sick, but it would not “prevent you getting colonised by the virus”. To eliminate the virus entirely, vaccines would have to be developed to stop the virus in the nasal cavity. The Pfizer vaccine does not do this.

The release of the vaccine in this limited form however will not mean the end of measures such as social distancing, the wearing of masks and handwashing which will continue to be necessary until all Australians are fully vaccinated. 

This article was sourced from a news item on the ADA website.

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