How close are we to a COVID-19 vaccine?

A Launceston infectious diseases expert will discuss the latest global COVID-19 vaccine developments and how it relates to the Australian perspective at a forum this December.
Presented by St.LukesHealth and the Clifford Craig Foundation, Professor Katie Flanagan and a team of researchers at the Launceston General Hospital have contributed to several papers investigating the immune response to COVID-19 using blood samples collected at the Launceston General Hospital.
The work has been funded by the Clifford Craig Foundation.
“212 COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and 48 are being tested in human clinical trials,” Professor Flanagan said.
“Public statements have been released stating that preliminary analysis of phase three trials indicate that several candidates have above 90 per cent efficacy against symptomatic information, which is very encouraging.
“Australia has made commitments to purchase four candidates should they be found to protect against COVID-19 and has also signed up with the COVAX facility, which will provide access to other candidates should they be successful.
“We anticipate that Australia will commence vaccinating people sometime in the second quarter of next year in a phased approach due to limited availability in the first instance.”
St.LukesHealth CEO Paul Lupo said the collaboration between the health sectors, community and levels of government showed what could be achieved by working together for a common goal.
“Tasmania, and indeed the rest of Australia, has done a tremendous job in its response to COVID-19 and it is fantastic to see that researchers here in Launceston are contributing on a global scale,” Mr Lupo said.
“We know 2020 has been a stressful time for many but this effort has given many renewed optimism that we can move forward in 2021 and get on top of the virus.”
The Clifford Craig Foundation has contributed more than $70,000 in research funding to enable Professor Flanagan and her team at the LGH to participate in multi-centre research to find treatments for people who require hospitalisation due to COVID-19.
Clifford Craig Foundation CEO Peter Milne said the community should take pride that the North’s infectious diseases team was contributing solutions to the worldwide pandemic.
“We are very fortunate to have Professor Flanagan working at our acute care hospital and this public forum is a great opportunity for the community to attain the latest information on the vaccine work that is being undertaken across the globe and how it may rolled out,” Mr Milne said.

The COVID-19 – How close are we to a vaccine forum was held on Monday, December 14 at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at 5.30pm. To see Professor Flanagan's presentation, visit

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