Professor Peter Collignon says it may be a year before a child vaccine is developed.
Professor Peter Collignon says it may be a year before a child vaccine is developed.

Why COVID-19 jab is no ‘silver bullet’

Millions of Australians are still likely to contract COVID-19 even after they have been inoculated, while a vaccine for children is possibly another year away, experts have warned.

There is insufficient data showing that either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine being distributed in Australia can partially or fully stop the transmission of the disease, says Australian Medical Association vice-president Chris Moy.

All that remained was "hoping" that vaccines being used around the world could prevent transmission of the virus, he said.

"The jury is still out on all vaccines on whether you can catch it and still pass it on," Dr Moy told NCA NewsWire.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Chris Moy says there is hope the vaccines can stop the spread of the virus, but it is too early to tell. Picture: Supplied
Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Chris Moy says there is hope the vaccines can stop the spread of the virus, but it is too early to tell. Picture: Supplied

"We are only hoping they do reduce transmission and they probably do, but we are hoping.

"The vaccine has not been around long enough to get that data. The only thing we are absolutely sure of is that all of the vaccines are stopping the severe disease and stopping people dying."

Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases professor at the Australian National University, said no one should think they are not going to contract the virus after being inoculated.

He added there was too much optimism on the vaccines being a silver bullet and it was also problematic that no vaccine had been produced for children.

"One of the issues with the vaccination is that everybody thinks the problem will go away very soon, and I didn't think that is very likely,: he said.

"Firstly, there is not going to be a vaccine for children until probably next year at the earliest because they're only just doing studies now.

Professor Peter Collignon says a vaccine for children may still be 12 months away. Picture: Supplied
Professor Peter Collignon says a vaccine for children may still be 12 months away. Picture: Supplied

"I'm not sure we will all get it, but a lot of people will still get COVID and develop mild infections, but it's better than dying."

Their warning comes as more than 240 people, who had been fully inoculated against coronavirus, in Michigan, tested positive to COVID-19, including three who died.

The cases were recorded between January 1 and March 31, and the patients tested positive at least 14 days after their second dose.

US residents are being inoculated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, with the state of Michigan administering about 50,000 vaccines per day.

It was still to be determined if any of the 246 were positive to COVID-19 before being inoculated, the New York Post reported.

"Some of these individuals may ultimately be excluded from this list due to continuing to test positive from a recent infection prior to being fully vaccinated," Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email on Monday.

 

"These cases are undergoing further review to determine if they meet other CDC (Centres for Disease Control) criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test.

"In general, these persons have been more likely to be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic compared with vaccinated persons."

The three people who died were aged 65 or older, while Michigan, which leads the nation in new cases by population, has surpassed 700,000 cases, according to the Detroit News.

Professor Collignon said even the most successful vaccines had taken years to fully control an outbreak of a disease, and that's why we need to be realistic about when we will emerge out of the pandemic.

"Even when you have very good vaccines, measles for instance, it takes quite a while before you stop all community transmission, many years, and during that period of time you still have infections," he said.

"I can't see overseas travel is going to happen before the end of this year to a lot of areas, let alone the rest of the world. Realistically, we will have to wait what happens in the northern hemisphere during winter."

 

Dr Moy said some preliminary studies suggested the vaccines were effective at blocking the virus but more data was required to shore up the findings.

One of the studies he pointed to was conducted by the CDC that included almost 4000 healthcare workers across six states from mid-December to mid-March 13.

Coronavirus testing was conducted on a weekly basis, with symptomatic and asymptomatic infection rates declining and a small number of those vaccinated contracting COVID-19.

"We don't have enough hard evidence that it does (stop transmission)," Dr Moy said.

"The main Australian strategy is based on stopping severe disease and dying, and that is the main thing."

Originally published as Why COVID-19 jab is no 'silver bullet'


Two Coast men caught with 49kg of marijuana in Mary Valley

Premium Content Two Coast men caught with 49kg of marijuana in Mary Valley

Sophisticated hydroponic set-up on a rural property

Coast residents recall special Prince Philip encounters

Premium Content Coast residents recall special Prince Philip encounters

Coast residents fondly recall encounters with Prince Philip

Mayor rates council a 10 but community wants more gains

Premium Content Mayor rates council a 10 but community wants more gains

A 10 from 10 for ongoing commitment, dedication and hard-work