TGA chief calls for vaccine transparency

The biggest fear for the man who is gives the final tick of approval to COVID-19 vaccines in Australia is a low take-up of the jab.

As such, head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration John Skerritt says transparency during the roll-out of the vaccine is absolutely critical.

Once Australians start getting vaccinated the TGA intends to put out weekly reports of adverse events involving the vaccine, both here and overseas.


“Some people have said that’s a bit risky, people will jump on one person who may have acquired a nervous system condition out of 20 million vaccinated in the US.” Prof Skerritt told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“But the alternative of not being transparent I think is a lot worse.”

Sky reported a new Newsgate survey which showed around a quarter of Australians need convincing about having the vaccine and 13 per cent totally disagree with it.

“People are alway sceptics, people are worried, people are nervous, I understand that,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told Sky News.

“I would sooner have the jab … than be lying two weeks later in an ICU care unit and worried why I didn’t.”

The TGA has already approved the Pfizer vaccine and is expected to give a final decision on the AstraZeneca vaccine this month.

“Both appear to be good vaccines and both are supported by large amounts of data,” he said

He said Australia is talking to around a dozen companies about potential vaccines in the future.

Hotel quarantine workers, frontline staff and border officials are first in line for the Pfizer jab, along with the elderly and most vulnerable.

The government hopes most Australians will be vaccinated by late October.

Australia has secured more than 150 million doses of various vaccines.

Meanwhile, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles believes there is a need to look at other quarantine options beyond Australia’s major cities

“If you could wave a magic wand, obviously it would be better if people were outside of our biggest population centres,” Mr Marles told ABC’s Insiders program.

He said thousands of Australians are still seeking to come home from overseas.

“That right there equals a need for which we need to have further capacity.”

More stranded Australians are preparing to return home when international arrival caps return to higher levels.

Victoria will increase its weekly hotel quarantine capacity to 1310 from February 15 as a month-long national “slowdown” on arrivals concludes.

NSW will from the same date return to a cap of about 3000 people a week, while Queensland is reverting to 1000 and SA to 530.

Western Australia will retain its halved cap of 500 until the end of the month.

Victoria has recorded no new local COVID-19 cases for the third straight day on Sunday.

© AAP 2021