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Why lockdowns could continue despite vaccine rollout

Gareth Parker
Article image for Why lockdowns could continue despite vaccine rollout

A prominent epidemiologist says we’ll likely be living with lockdowns and border closures for months or years to come, despite the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to touch down in Australia tomorrow, and be rolled out by the end of the month.

Vaccinated people can still carry and transmit the virus, meaning even if frontline workers are immunised there could still be outbreaks from hotel quarantine.

Professor Adrian Esterman of the University of South Australia told 6PR’s Gareth Parker even the most effective vaccines still won’t prevent infections.

“These vaccines won’t necessarily prevent infection, the Pfizer BioNTech, from some recent studies of it’s current rollout, estimate that it will protect about 50 per cent of people from infection,” he said.

Professor Esterman also supports growing calls for the government to use the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs facility to quarantine international arrivals.

“It’s the perfect location, it’s got all the facilities you need, everyone has got their own separate cabin with fresh air, and it hasn’t had a single leak because of the incredible high training of the staff.”

He’s calling on the Government to urgently establish more purpose-built quarantine stations for future pandemics.

“We are seeing these pandemics occurring more and more frequently,” he said.

“If we do invest in really, really good quality well developed quarantine sites, these will come in handy for the future.”

Click play to hear the full interview. 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Gareth Parker