Vaccines alone not enough to keep Australia safe from coronavirus: report

Tuesday, 2020-12-15 12:30:42
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File photo taken on April 1, 2020 shows researchers working at a lab of the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia. (Source: University of Queensland/Handout via Xinhua)
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The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) has warned that vaccines alone will not be enough to keep the country COVID-safe in 2021.

The AAHMS, which is comprised of more than 400 researchers, on Tuesday published a report providing advice on the next steps in Australia's pandemic response.

It called for the "ongoing implementation of comprehensive public health measures" including high levels of testing and mask wearing, contact tracing and mandatory quarantine periods for international arrivals and positive cases.

It urged governments to continue the prevention and treatment of long-term health issues related to the pandemic with a focus on mental health issues.

According to the latest figures updated on Monday evening from the Department of Health, there had been 28,039 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. And the numbers of locally and overseas acquired cases in the last seven days were zero and 68 respectively.

"By any global measure the Australian approach has been a spectacular success," Tania Sorrell, an infectious disease researcher and chair of the committee that produced the report, said in a media release.

"But this has come at significant cost and, as the second wave in Victoria showed, success can be very fragile."

In the review, the academy identified four areas for priority attention, including the need to create effective systems and capabilities to develop, manufacture and distribute vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics.