#CoronavirusNewsDesk says her audience is in Brisbane, Tonga, and around the world and local media reports that Queensland’s Pacific leaders push for hesitant community members to get vaccinated against #COVID19 Over the last years, she has seen a worrying trend: conspiracy theories around the #COVID19 vaccine which play on people’s faith.
“Because we are a very strong, deep religious people, it has affected beliefs,” Ms Ngauamo said.
“If a minister tells you this is the way forward they’ll believe it, but sadly there have been mixed feelings.”
On her program, in which she regularly speaks to church leaders from Brisbane’s Tongan congregations, she receives messages from people who say she shouldn’t be encouraging people to take the vaccine.
She said social media has fuelled conspiracies that the vaccine goes against God and is unsafe.
“Our Kingdom, our governance, and the stakeholders are trying to persuade our people to come forward and to vaccinate,” she said.
“It’s just not about you. It’s about you, your family, and the whole community as a whole.
“This will be a thing that will tie us all together as one people, coming forward to make a safe and happy environment.”
This month the broadcaster launched a campaign to educate.
With videos in Tongan and Samoan, the campaign pulls on the heartstrings and uses humour to encourage Pacific communities to get vaccinated.
One of the videos features a husband and wife at church.
When the husband says he doesn’t want to be told by the government what to do, his wife puts him in his place and tells him she is “his boss” and she wants him to get vaccinated.
Another shows families being reunited at airports with the slogan “protect your loved ones”.
“The vaccine has come out, and it is done by people who are trained and qualified to put this forward and put it together and we know that it is safe,” she said.
This weekend the Brisbane Tongan Community, with the support of the broadcaster, is hosting a vaccination day.
“That’s our passport to open up the border and you get to go and see your loved ones and family overseas.”
Jabbed, packed and ready to go
Aiga Aii, who stars as the wife in the Samoan language video, said families had been hurting over the last two years being separated from loved ones abroad.
She said she got vaccinated in preparation that she could travel overseas and hopes she will be able to visit her daughter in Dubai next year before heading to Samoa to visit her family.
“Even though we talk on the phone and on Zoom almost every day, getting there face to face to them is different,” Ms Aii said.
She said that international travel is particularly important for Pacific people who have family all around the world.
“I’m looking forward for the borders to be open so that we can all go and see our children and our families back home.”
She said she had taken part in the promotional video to try and help her community and those who may be reluctant to get vaccinated.
In the video, her husband and her are sitting in church.
When he tells her he has heard the vaccine could harm him and he might die, she responds that his life is in the hands of God and the vaccine is safe.
In the Tongan version of the video, the wife tells the husband that he shouldn’t be worried about “government control” as she is “his boss” and the only one who could control him.
“To get vaccinated is something for you and something for your family,” she said.
“We have our families to look after and if we are unwell then our families will be unwell as well.”
A way to care for your fellow man
Reverend Maile Molitika is the resident minister of the Uniting Church Australia Tongan Congregation at Highgate Hill in Brisbane.
This Saturday his church will be hosting a vaccination day with the support of the Brisbane Tongan Community and Pasifika TV and Radio.
He said when organising the vaccination day he approached other Pacific church leaders to encourage their congregations to attend.
“”There are some people that are really, really against this vaccination and they tell social media that it is evil, that it is something to limit the population of the world and it has been connected with evil and that sort of stuff,” he said.
“Social media is very powerful with distributing all this information.”
He said talking about the vaccination in Tongan communities and Pacific communities widely have been sensitive and he was concerned about the influence of people who hold anti-vax beliefs.
He said as a Uniting Church minister he has encouraged others to get vaccinated as part of their faith.
“We have to do the right thing and make sure that everyone is safe,” he said.
“For me, this vaccination is just the same as other vaccinations that have been coming to Tonga — like for polio and others.”
He said has concerns that if Pacific community members are remaining unvaccinated they may not be able to go home to visit family and friends.
“It has been very hard for the last two years. People have been stuck here for two years. They were supposed to go home, but because of the limits of aircraft they have been postponed,” she said.
“They miss their family and it will get worse if people don’t get vaccinated.
“I hope that people understand that by doing this this is a way of returning to normal”.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says according to ABC News Data Report: It reveals how much protection #COVID19 jabs are giving people in NSW protection over unvaccinated people: At the peak of the outbreak between August 25 and September 7, 49.5 per 100,000 fully vaccinated people were infected with the virus, compared with 561 per 100,000 unvaccinated people.
The data was collated by NSW Health and released today.
COVID ICU admissions or deaths peaked between September 8 and September 21, in just 0.9 per 100,000 fully vaccinated people, compared with 15.6 per 100,000 unvaccinated.
It means people who had not had a COVID-19 jab were 16 times more likely to die, or get so sick they needed the top level of hospital care.
“Notably, young people with two doses of a vaccine experienced lower rates of infection and almost no serious disease, while those unvaccinated in this age group were at greater risk of developing COVID-19 and needing hospitalisation,” NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.
The data showed that 21 per 100,000 fully vaccinated 12-to-19-year-olds caught COVID-19, compared with 488 per 100,000 unvaccinated people in the same age group.
While the vast majority of the 61,800 cases were unvaccinated, 3,736 (6.1 per cent) had two doses of vaccine, 493 were hospitalised, 30 admitted to ICU and 47 died.
The report noted that of the 47 deaths in double vaccinated people, 29 were aged care residents and the other 18 had significant comorbidities.
Of the 30 in ICU, 26 had significant comorbidities and only four had none.
“The COVID-19 Delta outbreak has been the biggest challenge the state has faced during the pandemic because of its transmissibility. However, this report shows vaccination has been key in protecting ourselves, our families, and the community from the harmful effects of the virus,” Dr Chant said.
Several social distancing restrictions were eased in NSW ahead of schedule today.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state’s high vaccination rate meant things like caps on the number of fully inoculated people allowed in private homes, and density restrictions on indoor retail and hospitality settings could be eased.
However, people who are not vaccinated must continue living in an effective lockdown until December 15, or, when NSW reaches 95 per cent double-dose coverage of people aged 16 and older.
This morning, the NSW government announced 93.9 people in that age group had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 89.8 per cent had been given both jabs.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.31: The Premier said it was an “outstanding result” that 6.8 million jabs had now been administered in NSW with nearly two thirds of the adult population having one dose and 36 per cent with two doses….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says NSW records 1,290-new #COVID19 Ms Berejiklian said the state was on track to get 70 per cent of people fully vaccinated in October: Vaccination is the key in terms of our freedom and reducing the spread of the virus.,” she said as the police urge public to self-isolate when they are asked to prevent the spread of the virus …
However, Ms Berejiklian said there would still be restrictions when NSW businesses start to reopen at the 70 per cent double dose milestone.
“You will have to check in, demonstrate you have been vaccinated, demonstrate social distancing, in certain settings you will have to wear a mask,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“But at 70 per cent double dose, life will be better than it is today.”
Four more people died from COVID-19, including the state’s first regional death. There have now been 93 deaths during the current outbreak.
Of the four deaths, a man his 50s who had significant underlying health conditions died at Dubbo Hospital, while a man in his 70s who died at Westmead Hospital also had underlying health conditions.
A man aged in his 70s who died after contracting COVID-19 at Meredith House healthcare facility. A woman in her 60s from Western Sydney who was infected at Cumberland Hospital also died.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant pointed out Guildford, Merrylands, Auburn, Greenacre, Yagoona, Punchbowl, Blacktown and surrounding suburbs as the locations seeing the highest growth in cases.
“We are seeing such a high case rate. I cannot urge you enough to come forward for testing but importantly, be very careful in the way you move about in your community.”
Dr Chant said she was seeing a ‘spill over’ into nearby suburbs from workers travelling to and from their workplace. She asked workers in Ryde, Meadowbank, and inner west suburbs such as Marrickville to ensure they are strictly following all COVID safety measures.
Ms Berejiklian said she expected October to be the “worst month” for NSW.
“We anticipate that the worst month, the worst time for our intensive care unit will be in October,” she said.
“October is likely to be out worse month in terms of pressure on the system and that is why we have been gearing up for that and we have been nearly two years. Our hospital system is under pressure. Will we need to do things differently? Of course, we will.”
There are currently 840 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 137 people in intensive care, 48 of whom require ventilation.
Ms Berejiklian said she was focused on reducing the stress on the hospital system.
“We have to remember this important point as well, we do not know how long COVID will be with us and we have to demonstrate our pathway out of living with the virus and that starts when we have 70 per cent double dose vaccination and obviously there are further positives when we get to 80 per cent double vaccination, and these are important targets.”
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro provided a snapshot of the situation in the regions.
In the far west, there were nine cases: seven in Wilcannia and two in Broken Hill.
Western NSW had 51 new cases: 33 in Dubbo, four in Burke, five in Bathurst, one in Narromine, one in Blayney, one in Brewarrina. two in Forbes, two in Orange, and two in Parkes.
“We also have concerns around unlinked cases,” Mr Barilaro said. “So for the communities of Burke, Brewarrina and Enngonia, any symptoms, please come out and get tested.”
In the Hunter New England area, there were three new cases overnight: two in the Lake Macquarie local government area (LGA) and one in the Cessnock LGA.
There were five new cases in the Wollongong and Shellharbour area and six new overnight on the Central Coast.
There was also a positive detection in sewage in Trangie in western NSW and in Byron Bay.
There were 157, 221 COVID-19 tests reported to 8:00pm last night.
Latest News: Police urge public to follow self-isolation requirements to prevent the spread of #COVID19 in NSW
Sunday, 29 August 2021 12:43:39 PM
The NSW Police Force is urging compliance with self-isolation requirements to prevent COVID-19 from continuing to spread through communities after recent breaches were detected.
Since Operation STAY AT HOME commenced earlier this month, police across the state have been conducting high-visibility operations to support the community, conducting 40,877 welfare engagements (compliance checks), checking on more than 76,000 people.
Police continue to enforce the Public Health Orders with officers issuing more than 12,600 Penalty Infringement Notices. This includes 327 PINs issued since Monday 23 August 2021 for not complying with curfew requirements in areas of concern.
Incidents of note include:
Officers from Parramatta Police Transport Command were patrolling a train travelling from Seven Hills to Parramatta just before 4pm on Tuesday (24 August 2021), when they spoke to a passenger not wearing a correctly fitted face mask. The 31-year-old man was arrested after checks revealed an outstanding warrant for breaches of the Public Health Order. He was taken to Parramatta Police Station where the outstanding warrant for three counts of fail to comply with self-isolation direction was also executed. Inquiries confirmed the Bankstown man was COVID positive. He appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 25 August where he was formally refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday 6 October 2021.
Officers from Kuring-Gai Police Area Command located a stationary Toyota Camry in an industrial area on Salisbury Road, Asquith about 6.30pm on Thursday (26 August 2021). Police spoke to the occupants, a 39-year-old woman from Tregear and a 43-year-old man and during a subsequent search of the vehicle located drug paraphernalia. Both occupants were in breach of the Public Health Order and issued PINS for fail to comply with requirement of Public Health Order – COVID-19. Subsequent inquiries also revealed the woman had returned a COVID positive result and has been directed to self-isolate.
About 6.30pm on Thursday (26 August 2021), a 35-year-old man left his vehicle unattended outside his Doonside home when his wallet was stolen. The man’s credit cards were fraudulently used at several nearby stores and police were notified. Officer from Blacktown Police Area Command attended and arrested a 17-year-old male after a short struggle. The teen admitted to being COVID positive and was taken to Westmead Hospital where he remains receiving treatment. Inquiries continue.
About 2.30pm on Friday (27 August 2021), officers from Parramatta Police Area Command received information regarding a 27-year-old man, not self-isolating as required. Police spoke to the Parramatta man who admitted he was COVID positive and had continued to be active in the community. He was issued a PIN for fail to comply with requirement of Public Health Order – COVID-19 and directed to self-isolate as required. NSW Heath have been notified.
Police launched operation STAY AT HOME on Monday 16 August 2021 in order to boost public health order enforcements efforts across the state.
Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.19: That’s the number that’s immensely important because it overwhelmingly leads to people having their second dose, and that’s very heartening,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says #COVID19 latest news: New South Wales records 452 cases, Victoria reports 24 during Melbourne’s extended lockdown story will be updated frequently …..
More than 10 million Australians have had their first vaccine jab
Mr Hunt said 279,465 people received a COVID-19 vaccine dose on Monday.
“We believe that’s the highest number, not just during the COVID vaccination program, but at any point in Australia’s history for vaccinations in a single day,” he said.
NSW records 452 new local cases, one death
Here’s how today’s stats break down:
129 were linked to a known case or cluster
The sources of the other 323 are still being investigated
30 cases were infectious in the community
24 were in isolation for part of their infectious period
The isolation status of 297 remains under investigation
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 75 per cent of the state’s cases were in people under 40.
“That’s why those extra jabs we receive from the Commonwealth will be put straight into the arms of 16 to 39-year-olds in the local government areas of concern,” she said.
The Premier also warned that September and October, before vaccination targets are hit, “will be our most challenging months”.
There were 152,000 tests conducted yesterday.
A woman in her 70s died from COVID-19 at Westmead Hospital. She was not vaccinated.
There have now been 5.2 million vaccinations across the state.
Tasmania eases border restrictions with Queensland LGAs
The Tasmanian government will downgrade the risk status for 13 Queensland LGAs to low risk from midnight, paving the way for a return to quarantine-free travel.
It means all of Queensland will be considered low risk to Tasmania, with the exception of specific premises which have been outlined as exposure sites.
The current restrictions Tasmania has on NSW, Victoria, ACT and NT remain in place.
“While we have no cases in Tasmania, we remain under constant threat to the risk,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.
There were no cases detected in Tasmania to 6:00pm last night from 638 tests.
No changes to South Australian restrictions or border policies
The state’s COVID-19 Transition Committee was particularly concerned about a case in Broken Hill, NSW and will monitor the situation in the NT.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the committee was likely to meet again in a week’s time, to discuss any possible changes.
“Particularly with our borders and as they relate to Queensland, we are concerned about activity in Broken Hill and the impact it may have on regional and vulnerable communities in South Australia,” he said.
There were no new cases of COVID-19 announced in South Australia.
WA records zero new cases
WA Health announced no new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday.
The state is currently monitoring three active case, none of which are in hospital.
A seafarer from the MV Darya Krishna remains in hospital in a stable condition in Perth, however he was cleared of having COVID-19.
Now, let’s get into international coronavirus news.
New Zealand goes into lockdown after recording first community case since February
All of New Zealand will go into a snap three-day lockdown from 11:59pm after confirming one case of COVID-19 in the community.
The case was confirmed in the most populous city, Auckland, earlier today, and that city and the Coromandel Peninsula face a longer lockdown, a total of seven days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbours.”
New York City will begin requiring proof of vaccination at public venues
New Yorkers will have to prove they have been vaccinated if they want to dine at an indoor restaurant, work out at a gym or stroll through a museum.
The list of public venues widened on Monday as Mayor Bill de Blasio moved forward with an unprecedented move by the US’s largest city to goad more people into getting vaccinated and control a pandemic that has wrought havoc on the economy and people’s day-to-day lives.
While the new requirement goes into effect Tuesday (local time), enforcement won’t begin until September 13, to give the public and employees more time to receive at least the required first shot.
COVID cases and deaths continue to climb in India and Mexico
India reported 25,166 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 32.25 million, health ministry data showed on Tuesday (local time).
The country also recorded 437 more deaths, taking the total to 432,079.
Meanwhile, Mexico registered 7,172 new COVID-19 infections and 272 more deaths, health ministry data showed on Monday (local time).
It brings the total number of cases in the country to 3,108,438 and the death toll to 248,652.
Serbia will start administering third, or booster, doses of vaccines
Serbians will get booster doses if they have gone at least six months since their last jab.
The Balkan country is facing a surge in infections, with an average of more than 900 cases a day in the past week due to the Delta variant. More than half of its population of around 7 million is vaccinated.
Initially, heath authorities will contact people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, medical workers and those whose jobs require frequent travel.
#AceHealthReport – July.25: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) said the new advice was being issued because of the increasing risk of #COVID19 in the city, and emerging data on the severity of the Delta strain.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – ATAGI urges all adult Sydneysiders to ‘strongly consider’ the AstraZeneca vaccine amid NSW #COVID19 outbreak and the group urged all adults in Greater Sydney to consider the benefits of being vaccinated sooner, rather than waiting for alternative vaccines to be made available saying the benefits of any available vaccine outweighed any risk of rare side effects associated with AZ…
There are currently 139 people in hospital, with 37 of them in intensive care.
For those outside Sydney, ATAGI is still advising that Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for people under the age of 60.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the worsening situation in Sydney had brought on the change.
“The advice from ATAGI is all individuals aged 18 years and above in Greater Sydney, including adults under 60 years of age, should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine, including AstraZeneca,” he said.
“This is on the basis of the increasing risk of COVID-19, and ongoing constraints of supply of the Pfizer vaccine.”
Professor Kidd said there was evidence the Delta strain was having a more serious impact on younger people than previous variants.
“It is becoming apparent that the Delta variant may be more severe than the original strain of the virus,” he said.
“The proportion of infected people less than 60 years of age requiring hospitalisation now appears to be higher than what was reported in outbreaks with the original strain.
“So this also reinforces the benefit of protection with either vaccine.”
The updated advice was issued after days of public pressure from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for ATAGI to reconsider its advice on AstraZeneca.
#AceHealthReport – June.21: Clinical trials are will start soon: Look back at all of the day’s coronavirus news and updates:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – #COVID19 Australia’s first local mRNA coronavirus vaccine trials will start ‘within months’ Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino announces $5 million of the government’s $50 million pot of funds for battling coronavirus will be spent on a program at Monash University to produce mRNA vaccines: If you’d like to know a bit more about the vaccines in use around the world, you might like to read this.
Global COVID-19 cases exceed 177.1m, death toll tops 3.84m: WHO
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the world had nearly reached 177.11 million, with the death toll exceeding 3.84 million, as of June 18, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Globally, there had been 177,108,695 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,840,223 deaths, the WHO’s COVID-19 dashboard showed.
And as of June 16, a total of 2,378,482,776 vaccine doses had been administered around the world.
The United States still leads the world in the number of both confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 33.52 million on June 19, with the death toll reaching 601,714, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Brazil surpassed half a million COVID-19 deaths after registering 2,301 more deaths from the fatal disease in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said Saturday.With the national death toll reaching 500,800, Brazil has become the second country in the world to record more than half a million pandemic deaths, after the United States. Its caseload is the world’s third largest following the United States and India.
Britain reported more than 10,000 coronavirus cases for a third consecutive day on Saturday as there has been a 79 per cent rise in the highly contagious Delta variant in the country in the past week.
In the latest 24-hour period, Britain has reported another 10,321 coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,620,968, according to official figures released Saturday.
Japan divided over Olympics as decision on having spectators looms
Facing the daunting task of keeping the world’s largest sporting event safe, some emergency medicine officers overseeing Tokyo Olympic venues are calling on the organisers to bar spectators over risks of a jump in COVID-19 cases.
Organisers are to decide as soon as Monday whether to allow domestic spectators into the stadiums for the Games, which were delayed by a year due to the pandemic and now set to start in about a month. Foreign spectators have already been banned.
The Tokyo 2020 president is eyeing a cap of 10,000 people per venue, even as government health experts warn against in-person audiences.
Overwhelming public opposition to the Games has eased somewhat, but a Friday poll from Jiji news found 41 per cent still want the Games cancelled.
If the Games go ahead, 64 per cent of the public want them without spectators, the poll found.
WA to ease remaining hospitality restrictions
Hospitality venues will benefit from eased coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday. (ABC News)
Western Australia is set to remove its remaining COVID-19 capacity restrictions at restaurants, bars, hotels and other venues.
WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the state would move to phase five of eased restrictions on Wednesday morning, following updated health advice.
The existing 2-square-metre rule and 75 per cent capacity limit for a range of venues will be lifted.
Australia already using mRNA vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine which is in use in Australia, uses an mRNA-based formula.
Sydney’s COVID-19 face mask rules are changing — this is what you need to know
updated 2h ago
The number of infections linked to the COVID-19 cluster in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has increased to nine, prompting the NSW government to mandate face masks in several settings.
Let’s start with public transport.
On Thursday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said masks would be mandatory on public transport in Greater Sydney and the Blue Mountains, but from 4:00pm Sunday, people in the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas will also need to comply with this public health order.
From 4:00pm today, face masks will also be mandatory in certain settings if you’re in several Sydney local government areas, including:
People in those areas must wear masks in:
Retail shops (including supermarkets)
Or, if they are front-of-house hospitality staff
Where don’t I need one?
While NSW Health “continues to ask people to wear masks in indoor settings”, if you’re a customer in a pub, bar or restaurant, they will not be compulsory.
Masks are also not mandatory in schools.
“But if any parents would like to have their child were a mask, it has been the usual practice that that has not been opposed,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.
Masks are not going to be mandatory in private offices, however, NSW Health is advising people to work from home if they can.
They’re also not going to be mandatory in gyms, despite Dr Chant describing them as “high risk” environments for transmission.
She said it wasn’t practical for people to wear a mask while working out.
“We are asking everyone to moderate at this time to ensure social distancing, ensure the gyms are making sure classes aren’t crowded and there is good spacing,” she said.
While no capacity restrictions at hospitality venues and public or private gatherings have been introduced, NSW Health has urged people to use common sense.
“Everyone is strongly urged to avoid gatherings and minimise their movements, such as not attending the cinemas or trips to the ski fields,” it said in a statement.
Anti-government protesters took to the streets across Brazil on Saturday as the nation’s COVID-19 death toll soared past half a million — a tragedy many critics blame on President Jair Bolsonaro’s attempt to minimise the disease.
Thousands gathered in downtown Rio de Janeiro waving flags with slogans such as “Get out Bolsonaro. Government of hunger and unemployment.”
Similar marches took place in at least 22 or Brazil’s 26 states.
Mr Bolsonaro’s supporters have also taken to the streets over the past month, in large part because many agree with his dismissal of restrictions meant to stifle coronavirus and anger that lockdown measures have hurt businesses.
But critics say such messages, as well as Mr Bolsonaro’s promotion of disproven treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, have contributed to the soaring death toll and a sluggish vaccine campaign that has fully inoculated less than 12 per cent of the population.
The country of some 213 million people is registering nearly 100,000 new infections and 2,000 deaths a day.
mRNA vaccines explained
You have several articles about MRNA vaccines but what exactly is it it layman terms?
Here’s what science reporter Belinda Smith has to say about how mRNA vaccines work:
Vaccines train our immune system to recognise pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, and fight them off down the track.
In other words, they give our body a practice run of the real thing, but without causing the full-blown disease.
They do this by introducing our immune system to antigens — specific parts of a pathogen the body can then use to identify the invader in subsequent encounters.
Traditional vaccines typically inject us with antigens as, for instance, bits of inactivated virus or purified molecules.
But mRNA vaccines work differently. They don’t contain antigens. Instead, they contain a blueprint for the antigen in the form of genetic material — that’s the mRNA.
In the case of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, the mRNA provides the plans to build the spike protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to latch onto and infect our cells.
When injected into muscle, the mRNA is taken into cells, which ‘read’ the mRNA and build antigens over the course of a few days, after which time the mRNA is broken down.
The cells push the antigens outside their membrane and wave them around, a bit like a flag, alerting the immune system that something foreign has managed breach the body’s defences.
In response, a type of white blood cell called B cells make and pump out antibodies — Y-shaped molecules that form an immune ‘memory’ of that particular antigen. (Fun fact: the word ‘antigen’ comes from ‘antibody generator’.)
The state’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, says restrictions on the hospitality sector will ease further from 1:00am on June 25.
Among the changes, buffets will be back on the menu, with zero restrictions on self-service food.
In addition, density limits will increase to three people per four square metres.
WA records no new cases of COVID-19
The WA Health Department has reported no new cases of COVID-19 overnight.
The department is currently monitoring two active cases of the virus in hotel quarantine.
Victoria outlines timeline for locally manufactured mRNA vaccine
Here’s some more detail on that mRNA vaccine announcement out of Victoria:
Australia’s first locally manufactured mRNA vaccine candidate will enter Phase 1 clinical trials with around 150 people in October, the Victorian government says.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the government had allocated $5 million from a $50 million mRNA research fund to the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences to help it develop Australia’s first mRNA vaccine proceeding to “phase one clinical trials”.
“This is an incredibly important, incredibly exciting step that we are making in our nation,” Mr Merlino said.
“This will get us on a pathway to local manufacturing capability.”
“We don’t want to make promises that we can’t keep. That is incredibly important,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison assured Australians in January.
In the three months since the official launch of the vaccine campaign on February 22, the government has announced more than a dozen targets, revisions or updates to the rollout plan.
If you’re having trouble keeping up, chances are you’re not alone.
So when can Australians expect to be vaccinated against COVID-19? We’ve tracked the twists and turns. Here’s how Australia’s rollout timetable has changed since the first targets were announced in January.
Until now, the WHO had only approved the vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.
But individual health regulators in various countries – especially poorer ones in Africa, Latin America and Asia – have already approved Chinese jabs for emergency use.
With little data released internationally early on, the effectiveness of the various Chinese vaccines has long been uncertain.
The WHO said the addition of the Sinopharm vaccine had “the potential to rapidly accelerate COVID-19 vaccine access for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk”.
It is recommending that the vaccine be administered in two doses to those aged 18 and over.
A decision is expected within days on Sinovac’s vaccine, while Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is still under assessment.
Why does WHO backing matter?
The green light from the global health body is a guideline for national regulators that a vaccine is safe and effective.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would give countries “confidence to expedite their own regulatory approval”.
It also means that the vaccine can be used in the global Covax programme, which aims to provide about two billion vaccines to developing countries.
The decision to list the Chinese vaccine for emergency use is expected to give a substantial boost to Covax, which is currently crippled by supply shortages, mostly caused by India halting the export of vaccines: It has only been able to deliver about 50 million doses so far.
The vaccine made by Sinovac, called CoronaVac, has only been fully authorised for use by China, but the government has already shipped millions of doses to a number of countries, which have permitted its emergency usage.
In Asia, the biggest recipients of the vaccine are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan, while in the Americas, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador have ordered millions of the jabs.What do we know about the Chinese vaccines?
In Europe, Turkey and Ukraine have signed large contracts for Sinovac.
The vaccine is also thought to be particularly important for African countries, where so far Zimbabwe, Somalia, Djibouti, Benin and Tunisia have received vaccines from China.
One of the Chinese vaccines’ main advantages is that they can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius, like the AztraZeneca vaccine.
How do the Chinese shots work?
The two Chinese vaccines differ significantly from some of the other Covid vaccines currently in use, especially those by Pfizer and Moderna.
Developed in a more traditional way, they are so-called inactivated vaccines, which means they use killed viral particles to expose the immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
By comparison, the BioNtech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. This means part of the coronavirus’ genetic code is injected into the body, training the immune system how to respond to it.
The UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine is yet another type of vaccine where a version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees is modified to contain genetic material shared by the coronavirus. Once injected, it teaches the immune system how to fight the real virus.
BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have an efficacy rate of around 90% or higher, while the AstraZeneca jab is thought to be around 76%.
“There was, at that point in time only one request, which had been refused, which is the well-known request to Australia but for much, much smaller quantities which dates now back quite some time and there has been no further development since then,” spokesman Eric Mamer said.
“So we certainly cannot confirm any new decision to block vaccine exports to Australia or to any other country for that matter.”
The federal government said the commission was “arguing semantics” and was not approving Australia’s vaccine orders or a request for a million doses to be sent to Papua New Guinea.
“If you’re not approving, it’s the same as effectively you’re blocking,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
“The Europeans have made absolutely clear in both their public and private statements that no further doses of AstraZeneca will be flowing until they’ve met their own orders domestically, so this is the problem we have.”
It comes as Australia lags on its vaccine rollout, with official figures on Monday showing just over 850,000 AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines had been administered across the country, well short of the 4 million doses the government had been promising by April earlier this year.
The EU itself has been battling large shortfalls of the AstraZeneca vaccine as the pharmaceutical company struggles to cope with demand, and is now aiming to deliver only 100 million doses to Europe by the end of June out of the 300 million it had promised.
An EU official told Reuters it was not responsible for AstraZeneca’s failure in upholding commitments to other countries.
Earlier this year the EU tightened its rules on vaccine exports in an effort to secure its own supply, which means EU member nations where the vaccine is being produced can refuse to authorise exports to non-EU countries.
‘They cut us short’
On Tuesday Mr Morrison said Australia’s vaccine rollout had been hampered by supply issues overseas, claiming the import of 3.1 million vaccine doses had been blocked.
“In early January, we had anticipated we would have those 3.1 million vaccines,” he said.
“Those 3.1 million vaccines were not supplied to Australia, and that explains the difference between the numbers.
“We made that very clear back in February, and we made it very clear that they were indicative figures we were working to at that time.”
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud went further, accused the EU of cutting Australia “short” of the vaccine.
“We are 3 million short at the moment,” he told the Nine Network.
“We were 3 million short by the EU.
“They cut us short.”
The initial shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine were intended to boost the start of Australia’s vaccine rollout, with local drug manufacturer CSL set to produce the 50 million shots.
Around 830,000 local doses were delivered in the first week of the program, but it is not clear how many have been released since then.
There are 2.5 million doses remaining in CSL’s cold storage, awaiting batch testing by the medicine regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).