Travel won't be back to normal soon: Professor

With COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out, an Australian Professor says international travel might not return to normal by the end of the year.

Australia’s Burnet Institute Deputy Director (Partnerships) and Head of Global Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Professor David Anderson, told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday that he does not envisage seeing international travel return to normal due to logistical reasons.

"By the end of this year there will still be a lot of disease in many many counties," Professor Anderson said.

For countries such as the U.S. where over 300,000 people have died from the pandemic, Professor Anderson said authorities will come across people who will refuse the vaccine, and distributing it to a large portion of the adult population will be tough, as most vaccines are not given to adults.

"And so getting the vaccine to people is the first problem. The second problem is that countries are likely to require proof of vaccination and probably not only proof of vaccination but proof of immunity," he said.

Professor Anderson says none of the COVID-19 vaccines are 100 per cent effective and his personal opinion is that you will have to show that not only have you been immunised, but that you are immune because the immunity will not last.

Immunity might last six months or two years so if you wish to travel you would have to show that you are still immune.

He added that part of the problem is the most dangerous time to catch COVID-19 is traveling through airports and airlines, and traveling together with a person from a high risk country will make your risk much higher.

It would not be fun if people traveling as tourists had to stay in quarantine for two weeks, says Profession Anderson, but he looks forward to traveling to Pacific island countries that Australians can fly directly to in the next few years in order to support their neighbors.

Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea and most Pacific Island nations were really affected by the coronavirus.

But according to him if Phase 3 trials are done in any of these countries, it would have taken a long time due to the low instances of disease. 

He added that the development of the COVID-19 vaccine was not rushed but was accelerated by the high instances of the disease and emphasised that the size of the clinical trials were large with disease spreading.

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