A great vaccination nation? What the government is saying about herd immunity

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Health Minister Greg Hunt tours the National Drug Discovery Centre at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Herd immunity from COVID-19 is the long-term goal, the Australian government has confirmed — but its initial focus is to deliver protection and make vaccines available as soon as possible.

But the lower efficacy rate of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which will be used to vaccinate the majority of Australians, has raised concerns around whether this is even possible. Trial results suggest it has an efficacy rate of 62.1% in two standard doses. Efficacy increases to 90% with a low dose followed by a standard dose.

In comparison, standard doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines have shown 95% and 94% efficacy, respectively.

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