Roll-outs, clots, herds, and more…

FSM News and Articles

Australia’s vaccine roll-out setbacks take shine off its COVID-19 success: “Unfortunately, Australia’s slow and problematic vaccine roll-out has somewhat taken the shine off our enviable reputation for managing COVID-19.”

Explaining the AstraZeneca blood clots – what are our risks and how do we proceed? While Vaccine-induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) caused by the AZ vaccine is quite rare, it has been a public relations disaster for the AZ vaccine, the only one we can produce in Australia instead of competing with 6.8 billion people for vaccine supplies. We have ordered a total of about 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 50 million of the European Novovax (not yet approved)… In these circumstances, it would be foolish to pretend we can have any certainty about a delivery date for these orders. We should be supporting so-far ignored pleas from countries such as India and Africa for the suspension of intellectual property rights so more countries can make more vaccines.

The AZ vaccine does what we need it to do: it is almost 100% efficient at stopping serious infections and deaths from COVID-19. We should continue to improve our distribution methods for the vaccine to Australians over 50, encourage them to be vaccinated, and reassure those who’ve had a first injection without side effects that a second injection poses no risk of the VITT complication. Fortunately, we are living a near-normal life here and can continue to do so safely if we remain vigilant. We do not have a strong case for acquiring millions of doses of vaccines before countries with raging epidemics, overflowing hospitals, a terrible mortality rate and conditions which facilitate the development of ever more dangerous variants of the original SARS-2 virus. So let’s take a big breath, accept the reality, proceed to protect our most vulnerable, an achievable goal for 2021, and focus on the global situation and ways we can help with the struggle in our part of the world.


How herd immunity works — and what stands in its way: Herd immunity is a complex process – this visualisation uses a model disease to show herd immunity and how viral variants, pre existing immunity and viral exposure can impact on how a community is protected by vaccination.

Great Moments in Health and Science 

The invention of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): This amazing invention is used in laboratories around the world, creating in hours many copies of DNA for studies in genetics, cancer and infectious diseases, that could take days to weeks with previous methods.

Lesser-known Health Professions

Informatics Specialist: Informatics Specialists help convert all of the paper medical records into electronic records or electronic files that are easily accessible by other healthcare professionals. Part of this process involves managing the information database and ensuring that patient privacy is being followed when entering the new records and medical patient data.