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Coronacast is a podcast that answers your questions about coronavirus. We break down the latest news and research to help you understand how the world is living through a pandemic.
318 Episodes
We know that vaccination is the fastest way out of this pandemic, and the sooner we can get the jab the sooner we're protected. But according to modelling from the Burnet Institute, even with high levels of vaccination, it might be a while yet before we can say goodbye to restrictions and other impositions on our lives. That's partly because of unknowns like how variants will continue to evolve, and because the vaccines don't work 100 per cent of the time in some people. So on today's Coronacast, looking ahead - what can we expect, even if we get to very high levels of vaccination? Guest: Burnet Institute Deputy Director and infectious diseases and public health specialist, Professor Margaret Hellard
There are lots of words that are used to describe the Delta coronavirus variant: highly contagious, very infectious, fast moving. But maybe it's time to add the word successful. The Delta variant has now overtaken the homegrown Alpha variant in the UK as the most dominant strain, and numbers are rising in the United States as well. So on today's Coronacast, we look ahead as to what the rise of Delta might mean for the world. Also on today's show: * Why is there a variation state to state on vaccination rollouts? * Evidence from Germany shows earlier detection and better treatment is lowering AstraZeneca clot mortality
It sounds like a lovely holiday: a week or two in Melbourne, see the sights before travelling north to the picturesque sandy beaches of Jervis Bay. Well, it's nice if you're a person. If it's the coronavirus variant of concern known as Delta, it's not not really a getaway you want to be part of. According to Victorian health authorities, the Delta cluster they're battling has been traced back to a guest from early May who came through hotel quarantine. On today's Coroncast, why that discovery will hopefully help them end the lockdown on time. Also on today's show: * More about getting your 2nd Pfizer dose in Victoria * Is there any evidence that vaccinated people are shedding the virus post vaccine? * Do mRNA vaccines change your DNA? * What happens if you don't get vaccinated by the time Australia reopens to the world?
As the days count down to Thursday, the question on everyone's mind is: will Victoria come out of lockdown or do they need a bit longer? Every day, health authorities say they're taking it one day at a time as more and more information is gathered. So what does it mean that Victoria has posted 11 new cases yesterday, when it was low single figures the day before? Thankfully, all the cases have been linked to existing cases and many were already in quarantine. But as today's Coronacast explains, issues still remain. Also on today's show: * Lockdown hard and fast or keep everything open? * Many Victorian Coronacasters are reporting issues with getting their second Pfizer booking. What's going on?
Over the last few days in Victoria, there have been low numbers of new COVID cases - but every new case is not the same. Recently, many of them are people already in quarantine, which shows that contact tracers have successfully found and isolated people before they can infect more people in the community. But others, like two cases to be announced today, are slightly more problematic: they're another health care worker and aged-care resident. And then there's the cluster that no one saw coming: the discovery of a different variant not known to be circulating in the community. So on today's Coronacast, how's it looking for Victoria's hopeful reopening this Thursday? Also on today's show: * If the vaccines only stop severe illness and do not stop spread, how is herd immunity possible? * Are the Delta and Kappa variants covered by the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines? * I've been donating plasma, but now that I'm vaccinated I'm feeling a bit selfish about giving away my newly made antibodies. Should I be concerned?
The situation in Victoria improved slightly yesterday, with only a few cases and all being linked to people already in quarantine. Residents of Melbourne and health authorities will be hoping that the worst is behind them, and it'll be smooth sailing from here. But as we know by now, you should never underestimate a virus that'll exploit every weakness it can. So on today's Coronacast, is the variant currently in Melbourne better at exploiting weaknesses than what we've seen before? Also on today's show: * Why Melbourne? * How should I try to convince people that are willing to get the Pfizer vaccine to be also ok with the AstraZeneca vaccine? * If I'm vaccinated and get COVID, because I may have no symptoms, will I be able to give it to people without me knowing? And it's Friday, which means it's time for Quick Fire Friday (Friday edition!)
The initial seven day lockdown in Melbourne has not been enough to get control of the outbreak in the city. As a result, Melbournians will need to do at least another seven days to give health authorities more time. They've also revealed that the plan is to get the state back to zero spread - or eradication of community spread. So on today's Coronacast, what'll they have to do to get there? Also on today's show: * We've had heaps of questions over the past several weeks on blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine, so we've got Dr Tim Brighton, a haematologist in Sydney and member of Thrombosis and Haemostasis society of Australia and New Zealand in to answer your questions. GUEST: Dr Tim Brighton, haematologist in Sydney, member of THANZ (Thrombosis and Haemostasis society of Australia and New Zealand)
Health authorities in Victoria sounded slightly more upbeat yesterday, thanks to no new cases being posted from the aged care sector. But worryingly, there are still mystery cases to sort out and what's even more concerning is said to be acting differently than it has with previous outbreaks. Authorities have described the behaviour as "fleeting", saying it is showing remarkable ability to infect people in settings with only very brief contact. So on today's Coronacast, with at least four transmissions occurring this way so far, how casual can a contact be? Also on today's show: * And it's Wednesday, so it's time for Quick Fire... Friday?
The second wave in Victoria in 2020 revealed aged care to be a major vulnerability in Australia's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the many hundreds of deaths from the second wave, the majority were in private aged care homes. And, sadly, COVID-19 has once again made it back into aged care - with coronavirus currently in two facilities in Melbourne. So on today's Coronacast, wasn't aged care supposed to be protected by now? Also on today's show: * When does a cluster become a wave? * What research has been done on shortening the gap between 1st and 2nd doses? * Why can't we just vaccinate people on day 1 of hotel quarantine?
As Melbourne entered its third day of lockdown, the news came that many were dreading: coronavirus had made it back into an aged care facility and it was a mystery case. The health care worker and roughly 70 percent of residents had been vaccinated with their first shot. It came as senior Federal Government ministers insisted that the vaccine rollout is not a race, saying it needs to be systematic. But on today's Coronacast, the systematic approach had aged care residents to be vaccinated within a month and a half as part 1a - so what happened? Also on today's show: * Weren't all aged care residents supposed to be vaccinated by now? * What's going on in the UK? Why are numbers rising again? * What are the known risk factors to AstraZeneca blood clots?
18 seconds into hell

18 seconds into hell


Victoria is back where it least wanted to be: in lockdown. And this time it'll last for seven days. Perhaps a bit lost among the debate over vaccinations and contact tracing is the fact that an entire state is in lockdown because of another failure of hotel quarantine. A recent pre-print study on Australia's hotel quarantine system has found that for every 172 COVID positive returned travellers, there's a leak and 57% of the time, it results in a lockdown. So on today's Coronacast, a look into the last quarantine leak, which could have happened in just 18 seconds. Also on today's show: * Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation updates the risk of clotting post AstraZeneca vaccination * If I am unlucky and do get blood clots from the AstraZeneca immunisation what is the treatment? Can this be treated in country areas? * Why do some people after a COVID-19 vaccination get symptoms like shivers, aches and pains, headache, sore arm, etc and others don't?
It often takes a crisis to expose all the weak points in a system, and this week's coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne has done just that. The whole thing started with yet another breach of hotel quarantine. Then there's the slowness of the vaccine rollout, which has left millions of eligible people exposed. Add to that the state issues of lacklustre QR code usage, and a testing system that is groaning under huge demand. With herculean efforts by contact tracers and a bit of luck, Victoria mightn't suffer too much damage. Or maybe the virus will get away. It's still too early to know. But on today's Coronacast, did it have to be like this? Also on today's show: * We had our 1st AstraZeneca shot a month ago. We have decided to have the 2nd dose in 8 weeks, rather than 12. What do you think? Also, is clotting risk present with the 2nd shot? * If I have AstraZeneca for doses 1 and 2, with both shots completed by August, could I have a Pfizer shot in December? Would this provide better protection or could it be harmful? * I received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 10 days ago. Can you tell me if I'm less likely to catch COVID-19?
What started with just four coronavirus cases in Melbourne a few days ago has now more than doubled, as close contacts are tracked down, isolated and tested. While cases are being linked to each other, how they relate back to a hotel quarantine breach in South Australia is still unclear. The other big challenge facing health authorities will be making sure every case is tracked down, but that's a job that gets harder with every new positive case. So on today's Coronacast, what are we hoping for in the days ahead? Also on today's show: * The TGA allows more flexibility for storing Pfizer vaccine * What information is there on how the vaccine works for people with blood disorders? * A few of your vaccination stories
Several cases of community transmission of coronavirus have been detected in Melbourne, as authorities rush to identify exposure sites and close contacts. While we brace for more cases, much is still unknown, such as where the virus came, its genomic information and how many missing links there might be. Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says it's a concern as we head into the winter months, as people are more indoors where we know the virus is far more likely to spread. Also on today's show: * More on the British vaccine and data that were discussed yesterday. It seems Astra might not be as effective as hoped, but could mixing it with a Pfizer booster shot make it better?
The so-called Indian coronavirus variant B617 is on a mission to take over the world, and it appears that it's slowly achieving that goal. According to recent data from the UK, it's edging out the local version B117 to become the dominant variant. So what does this all mean? Well, it means that it's probably more infectious and that might be what is giving it the edge. But is it more deadly or more resistant to vaccines? That's on today's Coronacast. Also on today's show: * My parents have both been fully vaccinated with Pfizer in the UK. Why can't Australia allow fully vaccinated people to visit? * How true is the 0 to 10 per cent effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the South African strain of coronavirus?
Congratulations, you're eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine! Since you're over 50, that means you're going to be offered AstraZeneca. But as many Australians are asking, why aren't you being given a choice? How worried should you be about these blood clots we keep hearing about? Are you being treated as a second-class citizen? And if there's no COVID-19 in Australia and the borders are still closed indefinitely, what's the rush anyway? Also on today's show: * Could a second dose of Pfizer rather than a second dose of AstraZeneca provide better protection against variants? * If it's possible for fully vaccinated people to still be infected with the virus, will they still get long COVID?
When we asked for your advertising campaign ideas to get Australia vaccinated, we never expected such an amazing response. Coronacast listeners from across Australia and the world have written in with very clever ideas to try and convince the nation to go out and get vaccinated. Ideas include using messages of hope from Australian celebrities to scaring the pants off people by asking them if they'd prefer to be vaccinated or on a ventilator. So on today's Coronacast, your ideas for the country's next big Government messaging campaign. Also on today's show: * Who needs a third dose of vaccine? * TGA makes a "provisional" approval for the Pfizer to be used for adults 12 years of age or older
While it's great to see that the number of Australians vaccinated against COVID-19 rises by the day, it's still far from the numbers needed to get it done by the end of the year. So perhaps a national advertising campaign selling the benefits, or maybe pointing out what could happen if we're not vaccinated is needed. Other countries have tried campaigns so far, including Singapore and New Zealand - is it time Australia joined them? So on today's Coronacast, a few ideas on what might work and why it's time for people to get the jab. We're after your ideas too! So send us your pitch for a national ad campaign that'll get Australians out and vaccinated!
When you're scheduled in for your COVID vaccine, depending on your age you'll get two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer. But what if you had one brand, and for your secord shot you had the other? Well, researchers have been looking at this for a whole bunch of reasons - a main one being it makes rolling out the vaccines simpler. And on today's Coronacast, early results suggest that mixing brands might also make the vaccines work better too. Also on today's show: * Do blood clots only happen after the first dose of the vaccine, or are they also happening after the second? * When people talk of a booster vaccination does it simply mean another jab of exactly the same ingredients as in the first injection? And we are joined by special guest Professor Paul Monagle from the University of Melbourne, to talk about the possibility of using the common drug heparin as a short term protective shield to stop you getting COVID-19.
The transition from Australia being pretty much free of COVID to reopening the border and allowing it in, is a complicated and fraught issue. The country will eventually have to rejoin the world so people can see family, travel for pleasure or business and go overseas again - but according to experts, there's a list of things that have to happen before then. The most obvious is a very high level of vaccination, so that when coronavirus does arrive again, it won't result in an overburdened hospital system And on today's Coronacast, there's also the big issue of possible vaccine resistant variants. Also on today's show: * More cases of blood clots and low blood platelets * A clarification and refinement of the R0 value discussion from last week
Comments (43)


Coronacast question. Hi Teagan and Dr Norman. Thanks for all your work. My question is," How effective is full vaccination with Astra Zeneca against getting serious illness from Delta variant?"

Jun 4th

Tanya Gwillim

hi coronacast team, love your show, have listened to nearly every episode from nz

May 19th

Sandra Pearce

I have listened to every single episode of coronacast, thank you so much for keeping us informed! I am 55 and very happy to be vaccinated, but I have really bad varicose veins in one of my legs, does that make me more susceptible to blood clots ?

May 17th

Malcolm Scott AZ vaccine 29% effective against asymptomatic covid19 b117 patients (British variant). What i think they are saying in the study is that the AZ vaccine will allow asymptomatic spread to continue thru the community. That vaccine is now dead in the water.

Mar 31st

Brendan Moelands

i have met so many people that have no interest in this now hearing theres different strains? how does the magic needle know which one you are protected from?

Mar 13th

Alex K.

people squeamish about needles, are you kidding me? GROW UP YOU SPOILT BRATS!

Mar 8th

sunset painting

as you said, a little cruel your comment about smokers. they do not ‘want’ to kill themselves that is an illogical and horrid thing to say. it is an addiction that is harder to stop than heroin and many try over and over to stop snd feel immense shame at not being able to. i do not smoke myself but knoe many that struggle to quit. smokers are often people that have either started when they were yound and didn’t know better then were already addicted, or have serious anxiety and it helps them relax-for many, feeling less anxious trumps the health concerns because the anxiety is so difficult.

Feb 3rd

behdad nikoueian shirvan

keep on casting please. i like your records.

Jan 23rd

James Franklin


Dec 24th

Kylie Munson (Red Star Sport Horses)

n89ok91 ki o oo

Oct 21st

Alanna Clare

Someone got in trouble

Oct 14th

Julie Fry

an excellent podcast that is fantastic for accurate information.

Aug 14th

Alex K.

Abbotoirs are essential services? hundreds of millions of people in India and a proportion of Australians are vegetarian.

Jul 23rd

K Clarke

masks are still so expensive! this is why you see so little being worn in general public. 10 surgical type masks in the chemist in my local a few days ago were $30.

Jul 14th
Reply (1)

Leonnie Stewart

Thanks for the explanations !

Jun 24th

K Clarke

Thank you for being my most trusted and timely source of information over this worrying period.

Jun 17th

Leonnie Stewart

Thanks for the excellent updates!

Jun 17th

Heather Phillipson

This episode keeps repeatedly playing.

Jun 9th

Michele Bottroff

SA is doing really well too. Why are we always neglected in the spruiking of success?

May 21st


This is a brilliant podcast that's short but provides well researched, good quality and entertaining material.

May 2nd
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