Australia’s next coronavirus vaccine


By Nathan Jones

General practitioner and USC assistant investigator Peter de Wet says having a variety of vaccine options is important in ensuring every Australian can get vaccinated

University of the Sunshine Coast researchers are nearing the end of clinical trials for a new alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines, the Nova vaccine.

General practitioner and USC assistant investigator Peter de Wet says having a variety of vaccine options is important in ensuring every Australian can get vaccinated.

“There are always going to be reasons for having a few options when it comes to these vaccines,” he says.

“Just like we do at the moment for our influenza vaccines, we rely on various influenza vaccines to vaccinate as broad group of people to keep costs down and have enough vaccines.

“There are going to be people who have a documented allergy or allergic reaction to one brand or particular type of vaccination, or a particular mechanism of vaccination who could still have the other types.”

Dr de Wet says the current vaccine roll-out has been disappointing but hopes the new-found global collaboration can pave the way for more coronavirus vaccines.

“While the current vaccination rates in Australia have been below the projections, it’s been an amazing feat of collaboration between those different groups who would often be competitors to actually work together and achieve something like this,” he says.

“I think it’s amazing how quickly it has come out and it shows just how everyone can work towards a common goal and what can be achieved with enough resources poured into something like that.”

The USC clinical trials centre has recently stopped recruitment after more than seven months of testing.

USC is in collaboration with the American-based vaccine development company Novavax and will complete the two clinical trials shortly.

Dr de Wet says the current vaccines efficacy rates are well above what is needed to end the pandemic.

“Anywhere above 50 per cent is a pretty good goal to have approved for a broadly rolled out vaccine [because] if you can [achieve that], you’re going to achieve control of that outbreak,” he says.

“Already with the 60 to 70 per cent with AstraZeneca, there are studies now showing we can get that up to 80-85 per cent with spacing the dosing.”

Vaccine rollout begins on the Sunshine Coast

By Dermott Chatwin, Frazer Ramsden and Nathan Jones

Retired school teacher Marilyn Carmody says she feels honoured to be the first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Golden Beach Medical Centre.

Today’s launch is part of the rollout of Phase 1B of the Australian Government’s vaccination plan.

Dr Constantin Frei says the centre expects to administer up to 400 of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccinations per week in an attempt to help the government achieve their goal of herd immunity in Australia.


The New normal? The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South-East Queensland

By Dermott Chatwin

It’s the feeling that fills each footy fan prior to round one every season in their favourite team’s pursuit of glory. It’s the fuel that motivates many to work hard each day in search of a better tomorrow. It’s the reason that the heartbroken dust themselves off only to put themselves back out there. It’s the reason that humanity refuses to give up even when the world becomes a scary place, and all appears lost.


Hope that this will be the year your team wins that elusive premiership. Hope that all that hard work will pay off and success is just around the corner. Hope that your one true love could be the next person you meet. Hope that after so much sickness, financial hardship and death that things will soon begin to change.

Queenslanders were extremely hopeful that the start of nationwide coronavirus vaccinations would represent the beginning of the end of social distancing, quarantine, business closures, unemployment, economic downturn and travel restrictions.

Finally, they could see a light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel. Then, almost immediately after Phase 1B of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan began to reach the first members of the public, and just prior to the Easter long weekend, Queenslanders were delivered a massive reality check.  The Greater Brisbane area was forced into a three-day lockdown in response to two separate clusters which threatened to run rampant throughout the state. Fortunately, before all the state’s hard work over the last 12 months could be completely undone, it seems as though the strict measures put in place by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have been successful in containing the outbreak before it got out of control.

This past week should serve as a timely reminder that while things seem to be heading towards normalcy again, maybe society’s definition of normal may have changed for good. But also how far Queensland has come.

This data graphic provides a timeline of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South-East Queensland as part of the COVID-19 Phase 1B vaccination rollout.