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Australian Medical Association begs for optional vaccine

1 month ago 16

Doctors are urging the government to make a COVID-19 vaccine entirely optional for Australians following backlash to the PM’s comments.

In an interview this morning, the Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said making vaccinations compulsory “sends the wrong message to the community”.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans last week to get a vaccine onto Australia’s shores, and said the jab would be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it”.

Although the PM soon backflipped on his comments, it sparked outrage in the anti-vaxxer community.

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Dr Khorshid doesn’t believe the situation will be drastic enough to make a vaccine compulsory.

“As soon as the government says there is a safe and effective vaccine, I think Australians will realise it’s our only way out of this crisis,” he told Sunrise.

“I think it won’t be a matter of asking people to have the vaccine, it will be a matter of making sure we have enough supplies.”

Last Wednesday, the Australian government announced an agreement with the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to secure at least 25 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if it passes clinical trials.

The University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently in phase-three testing.

Experts are hoping the vaccination could be available early next year, at the earliest.

There are growing calls for those who refuse a vaccine to be stripped of welfare benefits in a ‘no jab, no JobKeeper’ policy.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has hinted at his support for this idea.

It would mirror what is done in schools and childcare, where kids are treated in a ‘no jab, no play’ way.

But Dr Khorshid says he does not believe these tough measures will be necessary.

“I think Australians will see that once a vaccine is available, they will realise it’s the right thing to do, it’s the only way to protect those in our aged care community and other vulnerable people,” he said.

“It’s the only way to get back to our normal lives.”

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