Issue 2 • 2021
A message from
your President
The last time I wrote to you, Victoria was in the midst of yet another protracted lockdown.
The other Australian states had opened borders and were relatively free of community transmission of COVID-19. The trans-Tasman travel bubble was freely operating.
How different things are three months later.
We have nationwide outbreaks that we are working hard to control in almost all states.
The travel bubble is only just reopening as Aoteoroa New Zealand maintains a nervous watch for cases that may have spread via a single trans-Tasman visitor to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
The ruthless exponential mathematics of infection spread remind us that we can’t relax our guard for a minute.
Broader vaccination is now underway in Aotearoa New Zealand. In Australia, amidst the heated ongoing public debate over the progress of vaccine rollouts we’ve made sure our College’s position is clear.
In a recent media release, we stated the supply of vaccines has been a challenge for broader rollout and we look forward to the expected increase in the supply over the coming months.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s vaccine advice that while Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for people under 60, if Pfizer is not yet readily available then AstraZeneca can be used following an informed discussion about an individual’s personal risks and benefits with their GP or consultant physician.
We must continue to take the advice of the medical experts, however, we need to do much more to get our population vaccinated.
We welcome the Australian Government’s announcement of the four-phase roadmap out of COVID-19 but we note that an essential component of this plan is that access to and uptake of vaccinations increases.
To help achieve that, the government also needs to develop a much more effective communications campaign to support the rollout. There is absolutely no reason why our comparatively wealthy and well-developed first world nations should lag behind other similar countries in the rollout with our first-rate health system when the vaccines are available.
Regards, Professor John Wilson AM RACP President
© 2021 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians