Five former PMs pledge to have COVID-19 vaccine
They're an unlikely coalition but former prime ministers Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and John Howard have pledged to not only have a COVID-19 shot, but to film themselves to promote confidence in vaccine safety.
On Friday a decision was made to cancel development of Australia's University of Queensland vaccine candidate because a small number of phase one participants had returned false positives to the HIV virus.
CSL and the government decided the "diagnostic" problem could undermine public confidence in vaccination.
Australia's first female PM Julia Gillard said she believed the vaccine "should be made available to those who face the greatest health risks first".
"However, I intend to be vaccinated as soon as I am eligible and will publicly confirm I've had the vaccine.
"I would also be happy to lend my support to public health campaigns or measures that would increase take-up."
Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he would take a selfie to prove he has had his shot.
"I will certainly take the vaccine and encourage others to do it, too," he said.
"I am confident any vaccine officially approved for use in Australia will be safe."
At 81, John Howard, Australia's 25th prime minster also said: "Of course I will get the vaccine."
His 2007 successor Kevin Rudd also confirmed he is on board with the pledge.
"Yes. I intend to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when a vaccine is approved," he said.
"I see no reason to doubt Australia's approvals processes on the basis of the disappointing news out of UQ.
"In fact, its scientific approach demonstrates how vaccine development problems can be detected without the intrusion of politics."
Tony Abbott said he would "have the jab as soon as it is available".
In the US, where deaths are edging towards 300,000, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all pledged to get vaccinated on TV to promote the safety of the vaccines.
Last Thursday, Pfizer warned against the use of its vaccine in people who have severe allergies.
In the patient information leaflet, it was made clear the vaccine was not trialled in people with allergies.
Two nurses with established severe allergies significant enough to carry adrenaline pens with them at all times had a reaction to the vaccine, prompting a further warning.
The rate of severe allergic reactions following existing vaccinations is between 0.02 and 4.52 per 100,000 doses according to the Australian Academy of Science.
Originally published as Five former PMs pledge to have COVID-19 vaccine