Older Australians may not be able to get coronavirus vaccines when available

Font Size:

Older Australians are the most vulnerable to coronavirus death and would receive priority if or when a vaccine was made available.

That was the advice of Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy.

But they may be pushed to the back of the queue, as the vaccines have not yet been tested on older people.

“Most of the vaccines have not been trialled in the over-65s and it’s quite likely that the first registrations of some vaccines will exclude them being used in over-65s,” Dr Murphy told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday.

“So, we then have to think about a second level priority.”

Higher up the priority list are health and aged care workers, as well as Indigenous Australians, and children, too, if a vaccine is deemed effective at preventing transmission.

“We don’t immunise children generally to protect them, it’s to develop that herd immunity,” he said.

Experts are still out on whether we’ll ever have an effective ‘vaccine’. However, they seem more confident that, while a vaccine may not prevent transmission, it should be able to prevent severe cases of the disease.

They are also looking into various strategies around any possible limitations of potential vaccines.

“This is a logistic challenge of the likes we’ve never seen before, so we are going to need a range of strategies,” said Dr Murphy.

“We haven’t landed all of those plans yet because they’re all very complex.”

On release of any vaccine, clinics would be set up at hospitals and GP clinics, and some coronavirus testing centres may be repurposed to administer injections.

“We’re planning to train up a whole army of additional nurses to be nurse immunisers,” said Dr Murphy.

Should the vaccine be deemed safe to administer to older people, special teams would be set up to vaccinate aged care staff and residents as a priority.

If not, aged care staff only may be immunised until vaccines are declared safe for older people.

It’s also likely we’ll all need two coronavirus jabs, authorities told the Senate.

Do you feel safer knowing vaccines will be ‘tested’ prior to you receiving jabs?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.


Why older men may hold the key to beating COVID

Study suggests that older males who have recovered from COVID have the best antibodies.

Australian COVID vaccine reports strong results, passes major milestone

Hopes for the University of Queensland's COVID-19 vaccine high after pre-clinical tests.

Why cloth masks may increase your COVID-19 risk

Wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don't clean it properly.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading


Soothe your soul with these stunning images of Japan's cherry blossoms

It's sakura season, the perfect opportunity for locals to indulge in hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of 'flower viewing'. On...


Discover New Zealand's best winter attractions

To mark the start of the trans-Tasman bubble, here are some of the best things to do in New Zealand...


Check your passport's expiry date before booking

International travel seems to be slowly but surely returning. With the trans-Tasman bubble and talks of another bubble opening with...


Tips for getting a good night's sleep on holiday

Travel can seriously mess with our sleep. The jet lag that disrupts our body clocks may be the most obvious...


Tasmania's top spots for shopping and markets

The Margate Train offers shopping with a difference at Margate, southern Tasmania. Margate is 20 minutes south of Hobart (19km)...


What will it take for travel to get restarted again?

Maraid is encouraged by the travel bubble with New Zealand opening up and wonders what needs to happen before we...


The unbelievable software flaw that led to a major flight incident

When it comes to flight engineering, you would hope that every possibility has been factored in to perfection, but a...


Breathtaking views from the world's tallest skyscrapers

For centuries now companies and governments have obsessed over having slightly taller buildings than their neighbours. From St. Paul's Cathedral...