COVID-19 vaccine health-care workforce rollout begins

Professor Anton Peleg

Monash BDI researcher Professor Anton Peleg was interviewed by ABC radio (46:06 – 52:16) host Virginia Trioli about the logistics of the COVID-19 rollout for health care workers at the Alfred Hospital. Professor Peleg is Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University. He said that this is an exciting time for Australia and that we are able to navigate the practical challenges of safely rolling out the vaccine while maintaining a critical workforce, and also to differentiate between the mild side-effects of the vaccine and the symptoms of COVID-19. Detailed modelling had been conducted, for example to estimate how many workers might have mild side-effects. Symptoms experienced after the vaccine will be differentiated into those specific for the vaccine such as a sore arm or those specific to COVID-19 such as a cough or shortness of breath which would not be a result of the vaccine meaning those staff would be off work. A “middle group” of non-specific symptoms such as muscle ache and fever would be investigated with the worker involved having a few days off. The Pfizer vaccine would be given to frontline workers in key areas such as COVID wards, the Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department and our Screening Clinic over three or four weeks, Professor Peleg said.