Australian prime minister: Coronavirus vaccines should be mandatory
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said that COVID-19 vaccines should be mandatory for all citizens.
He told radio station 3AW in Melbourne that getting the vaccine should be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it,” noting there are some medical exemptions that could prevent everyone from taking the vaccine, Yahoo News reported.
Morrison’s comments come as the country recently struck a “promising” deal on a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
He also announced that Australia would provide the coronavirus vaccine for free to all citizens and that children would not be enrolled in school without the necessary immunizations.
“We’re talking about a pandemic that has destroyed the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world,” Morrison said.
The Australian government estimates 95 percent of the population would need to receive the vaccine to eradicate the coronavirus.
The country has reported more than 400 fatalities due to COVID-19 and nearly 24,000 cases of the virus this year, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
While some backlash and protests have erupted online from anti-vaccine activists over the implications of the country imposing mandatory vaccines, Morrison said the stakes were too high with the coronavirus for it to go completely unchecked.
So far, there are no effective vaccines for the virus released on the market, but Morrison said he was optimistic that one would be ready by early next year.
During an interview with Healthline on Tuesday, the U.S. top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he does not see the U.S. mandating a COVID-19 vaccine for citizens.
A Gallup poll released earlier this month showed 1 in 3 Americans would not take the COVID-19 vaccine even if it were free and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.