"Emerging evidence suggests that the ‘first generation’ vaccines currently in trials have a good chance of preventing SARS-CoV-2 related illness, but that they are less likely to prevent acquisition of infection with the virus. This means it is unlikely that virus transmission will be significantly reduced by this first generation of vaccines," the academy said in a fresh report.
According to the scientists, to succeed in fighting the pandemic, Australia needs to combine a number of measures such as mass testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, compliance with isolation and social distancing rules, as well as the wearing of masks.
"It is unlikely that a single ‘silver bullet’ will return Australia and the world to what we now consider as pre-COVID ‘normality’. Instead, we anticipate a scenario in which the vaccines, anti-viral therapies and other tools that become available will reduce COVID-19 associated hospitalisation and deaths," the report read.
Though the vaccines are said to be about 90 percent effective, it will take time to produce, distribute and administer them, and Australia needs to remain vigilant, the scientists believe.
Australia has secured so far 53.8 million and 51 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Navavax, respectively. Apart from that, Australia has also reached an agreement on the supply of a COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with 10 million doses scheduled for early 2021.