CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia introduced on Friday that it had finalized an settlement to buy a further 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine because it shortly moved away from its earlier plan to rely totally on the vaccine AstraZeneca.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the deal simply hours after saying Australia would cease utilizing the AstraZeneca vaccine for individuals beneath the age of fifty.
He mentioned the deal means Australia will obtain a complete of 40 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by the tip of the yr, sufficient to immunize 20 million individuals within the nation of 26 million.
Australia’s pivot got here after the European Medicines Company mentioned this week it had discovered a “attainable hyperlink” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and uncommon blood clots, though regulators within the UK and the European Union have pressured that the advantages of receiving the vaccine proceed to outweigh the dangers for most individuals.
After the European company’s assertion, Australian drug regulators held a collection of pressing conferences on Thursday and really helpful that the Pfizer vaccine change into the vaccine of alternative for individuals beneath the age of fifty.
Morrison mentioned there was no ban on the AstraZeneca vaccine and the danger of uncomfortable side effects was low. He mentioned the change was made with nice warning.
The pivot represents a major change in Australia’s total strategy and is prone to delay plans to have everybody vaccinated by October.
An vital a part of Australia’s technique has been the flexibility to fabricate its personal vaccines at residence and never depend on abroad shipments. He deliberate to fabricate some 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, sufficient for 25 million individuals. Australia had no plans to make different vaccines at residence.
Even earlier than the change, the federal government confronted criticism for a deployment program that lagged behind these of most different developed international locations. Australia has administered simply over one million doses of the vaccine up to now.
Opposition Chief Anthony Albanese mentioned the deployment was a debacle and Australians wanted certainty about once they can be vaccinated.
“This authorities has failed. This authorities could not get a choko vine to climb over a again fence, ”Albanese instructed reporters, referring to a plant that produces pear-shaped fruit and grows simply within the Australian local weather.
Well being Minister Greg Hunt mentioned there can be changes, however everybody can be protected and can be vaccinated.
Australia has succeeded in stemming the unfold of the virus in the neighborhood, permitting life to proceed as earlier than the pandemic.
AstraZeneca famous that Australia’s determination to limit the usage of the vaccine was primarily based on the absence of neighborhood transmission.
“General, regulatory businesses have reaffirmed that the vaccine provides a excessive stage of safety in opposition to all severities of COVID-19 and that these advantages proceed to far outweigh the dangers,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.