Other countries around the world have rapidly approved vaccines, with millions of people already vaccinated in China and the United States.
The country’s leading health experts have supported Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s tough stance, emphasizing that the safety of Australians cannot be compromised.
Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious disease expert at the Australian National University, told 9news.com.au that the process was already technically “rushed” as the approval process was taking place at least two or three times. faster than the usual speed for a vaccine.
“It is being done with extraordinary speed,” he said.
“If you rush, you are likely wasting the vaccine and you may be implementing something before you have all the safety data.”
Professor Collignon said the world only had preliminary data on vaccines, including possible side effects.
Dr. Allen Cheng, Victoria’s deputy health director and chair of the Vaccine Advisory Committee, said published articles of evidence only “scratch the surface of what we want to know.”
In the Pfizer study, a third of the participants who received the needle stick in the placebo arm experienced side effects of fatigue and headache.
The phase three studies, which generally included between 20,000 and 25,000 people, were enough to exclude moderately rare side effects, but not serious and rare side effects, which include those that occur in fewer than one in 10,000 people, said Dr. Cheng.
“If you see a single case of a serious side effect, it can be difficult to determine if it is a fluke or something to worry about,” he wrote on Twitter.
“One example is the cases of transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) that were reported in the AstraZeneca trial.”
Three cases in the study experienced inflammation of the spinal cord.
The side effect occurred in one case 14 days after vaccination, in another case 10 days later, but it is believed to be due to pre-existing multiple sclerosis, and a third case emerged in the control group.
Other side effects detected after launch include cases of anaphylaxis that have been reported in the UK and the US.
“Ultimately, the question is whether the benefit of using the vaccine outweighs the known risks and uncertainties,” said Dr. Cheng.
“Countries where there are hundreds or thousands of deaths every day are clearly willing to tolerate some uncertainty to avoid this, and this is appropriate.”
Israel leads the pack in the vaccine race, with 14.4 doses administered per 100 people, according to data from the University of Oxford.
The rate is the highest in the world, followed by Bahrain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
So far, more than 12.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in 30 countries, including 4.5 million in the US, 4.5 million in China, and 1.2 million in Israel.
Professor Collignon said countries such as Europe, Israel, the US and the UK had only approved the emergency vaccine due to their dangerous death rates from COVID-19.
“They are doing an experiment with no data,” he said.
“We shouldn’t do experiments before looking at more data because we are not in an emergency situation.
“They have uncontrolled infections and a lot of deaths.
“Australia shouldn’t be at the head of the queue.
“We don’t have uncontrolled spread, in fact we have little spread.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared the same opinion as experts, telling 3AW that Australia today did not urgently need a vaccine compared to other countries, that they would see shortcuts if it is approved at this stage.
“They are in a position where they have no other choice because of the terrible situation they are in,” he said.
The final deal between the Australian government and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer came to fruition on Christmas Eve, with 10 million doses that will be available for a March launch if the vaccine is approved by regulators.
Australia also has vaccine agreements with Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax.
Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid told Today that the ethical debate was one that needed more attention, rather than the push to quickly launch a vaccine.
“It is more important that it is given to people in Europe than in Australia,” he said.
“There is a real ethical question about whether we should take doses of this vaccine from other countries that need it more than we do.
“But hopefully, if the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, it will be made here and we will have our own source for Australians and lots of vaccine for every Australian.”
However, Professor Collignon warned that a vaccine would not make the world “go back to normal.”
“I think people have the impression that once we vaccinate the problem will go away, but that is not realistic,” he said.
“It is not going to be an instant solution. We will have to live with this problem for a year or two at least.
“Everyone has to be vaccinated so that the world returns to normal as in 2019.”