Morrison met on Jan. 18 with a group of countries known as the “first movers”—Austria, Israel, Greece, Denmark, Czech Republic, and Norway—to discuss the development and rollout of vaccines for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
“We’ve been getting the information from across all those countries where vaccinations have commenced, and we’re learning from the things that they’re doing now,” Morrison told 2GB radio.
The deaths of 30 Norwegians who took the Pfizer vaccine—the one set for Australia in the coming months—have disturbed Morrison.
“These cases in Norway, they are distressing,” Morrison said. “They are very aged people, and they were in the last phases of life, and they are very frail—this can happen with vaccinations, we know that, and that is why it is important to be very careful.”
Morrison also noted that he believed this was why Australia should not rush the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval process.
“I think this just highlights why we’ve been prudent. I mean, there’s been no delays. We’ve been moving as quickly as we possibly can. But equally, there’s been no rush. There’s been no corners cut,” Morrison said.
The TGA and foreign affairs officials are working with Norwegian officials to get as much information as possible.
However, Norway’s vaccine rollout continues despite the deaths, with authorities saying they have made adjustments to the vaccine program in nursing homes.
“Let’s make sure they are right … then we can give the tick and then people can safely get the jab,” Morrison said.
Morrison told 2GB in Aug. 2020 that the vaccine will not be mandatory but New South Wales’ (NSW) premier has suggested alternative ways to “incentivise” people to get vaccinated.
“It is not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine … there are no compulsory vaccines in Australia,” Morrison said. “No one is going to force anybody to do anything as a compulsory measure, but we certainly will encourage people to take this up.”
The prime minister’s comments come after NSW Premier Gladys Bereijiklian suggested that venues should be allowed to refuse those who have not been vaccinated.
Berejiklian raised the possibility of barring those who decline the vaccine from government-run buildings and permitting private venues to take similar measures.
She said she wants people to start thinking about how they feel about receiving the CCP virus vaccine.
“I don’t ever like to force anybody to do anything,” Berejiklian told 2GB radio. “But we’d like there to be an incentive system where people are encouraged to have it because it means they can do all these things they may have otherwise not been able to do.”