"I would expect [the COVID-19 vaccine] to be as mandatory as you could possibly make it."
Those were the words of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking to 3AW on Wednesday morning, about the vaccine that will put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
"There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds but that should be the only basis," the Prime Minister continued. "We need the most extensive and comprehensive response to this to get Australia back to normal."
"It is not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine," he told 2GB by Wednesday afternoon. "There are no compulsory vaccines in Australia.
"No one is going to force anybody to do anything as a compulsory measure, but we certainly will encourage people to take this up."
Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. On this episode, journalist Claire Murphy finds out the latest on the coronavirus vaccine. Post continues below.
Morrison's comments come as Australia is a step closer to securing a potential coronavirus vaccine after the government struck an early agreement with developers in the UK.
But the Prime Minister's comments about it being mandatory have triggered a national debate about the safety of the potential vaccine.
Yes, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers tend to go hand-in-hand whenever there is talk about vaccinations. But as journalist Waleed Aly pointed out on Wednesday's The Project, this isn't necessarily about pro-vaxxers versus anti-vaxxers.
"I feel like we need to stop this being an anti-vax/vax argument," Aly said, in conversation with epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely about the pros and cons of such a quick turnaround of the coronavirus vaccine.
"We're seeing in the polling data, there is a significant number of reservations, and that's not about anti-vaxxers. You know, these are people who are pro-vaccination but might have a concern in this particular case," Aly explained.
"Vaccinations are normally tested for long-term side effects - so you give people the vaccination and then you check five years later and see if there are any side effects. That's clearly going to be impossible to do this time."
Aly asked the epidemiologist if this is cause for concern.
Watch: Waleed Aly on the reservations of some Australians to receive the coronavirus vaccination. Post continues below.