A scientist who led the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has warned Australia about slowing the rollout.

The Australian and New Zealand Immunology Society recently called on the Australian government to interrupt the planned rollout of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccines, saying it may not be effective enough to generate herd immunity to the virus.

In response, Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the focus should be on the vaccine’s ability to prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19 rather than its ability to stop the transmission of the virus .

“Having a stockpile of vaccines today and getting them into people’s arms is what will save lives. That should be the absolute focus for me,” he said Friday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The only hard data we have for all vaccines is that people who are vaccinated don’t end up in the hospital because of COVID-19 and we’ve seen that consistently in our studies.”

The Australian government has agreed to purchase 53.8 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine pending approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Some experts cited trials of the vaccine that showed it to be 62 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, compared to about 95 percent for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Pollard said the impact of a vaccine can only be determined “when they are in people’s arms.”

“We don’t have any possibility of herd immunity without a high vaccination rate and that hasn’t happened anywhere in the world,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly rejected calls on Wednesday to postpone the rollout, which will begin in mid-February.

On Thursday afternoon, there were 28,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of locally and overseas acquired cases in the past 24 hours was zero and 10, respectively, according to the latest figures updated by the ministry on Thursday evening. of health.