August 20: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison inked a COVID-19 vaccine deal with pharma major AstraZeneca and said that all Australians will get the vaccination for free. A day later he made the vaccination announcement, he went on to suggest that he would also like it to become mandatory for everyone in his country. However, he was forced to backtrack and make clarifications on his statement within hours of making the controversial and ill informed declaration.
“I would expect it to be as mandatory as you can possibly make,” Morrison was reported as having said in a radio programme.
“We are talking about a pandemic that has destroyed the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world, and over 430 Australians. So, you know, we need the most extensive and comprehensive response to this to get Australia back to normal,” the Prime Minister said.
In another radio programme, he clarified that all he meant to say was that he would like to “encourage” everyone to take the coronavirus vaccine.
“We can’t hold someone down and make them take it,” he said.
In a few countries that are going ahead with developing the coronavirus vaccine, there is a relatively low level of confidence mainly because of the haste with which they are being produced.
Several opinion polls in the United States and Europe have suggested that a large proportion of people were unsure about taking the vaccine when it becomes available due to saftey concerns as a single case of extreme side effects of the vaccine could mean large numbers of fatalities.