CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The Australian government announced on Tuesday that it had decided to discontinue a single-dose son onsone և onson coronavirus vaccine և and discovered a rare second blood clot that may have been linked to the AstraZeneca fire.
The government was in talks with a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant to apply to the Australian regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Authority, for temporary registration.
But Health Minister Greg Hunt ruled out a J&J deal because the vaccine was similar to AstraZeneca, which Australia had already signed for 53.8 million doses.
Hunt said the government was following the advice of the Australian Science and Technology Advisory Group.
“J & J is another virus vector vaccine, we do not recommend that the government buy any additional virus vector vaccines at this time,” Hunt told reporters. “It does not reflect, it just observes.”
Australia has been relatively successful in curbing the spread of the virus, but criticism of the vaccine continues to grow.
Australia planned to rely on Australian-made AstraZeneca to deliver at least one dose of the vaccine to all eligible adults in October with a population of 26 million.
But the government abandoned that goal after recommending last week that Pfizer is now the preferred option for people under the age of 50 because of the potential risk of rare AstraZeneca-related blood tissue.
A man in the state of Victoria who was injected with AstraZeneca on March 22 had to be hospitalized with a blood clot. A second case was reported on Tuesday with a woman who was vaccinated in the state of Western Australia and hospitalized in Darwin, the regulator said in a statement.
The regulator says that 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca injected in Australia since the beginning of March, both of which have a coagulation rate of 1 to 350,000. The British authorities say that the risk of such blood tissue in that country is between 1 and 250,000.
The government doubled its Pfizer order to 40 million doses, Hunt said, adding that an additional 20 million doses were expected in the last three months of 2021.
“It would be a significant sprint for those who have not been vaccinated before,” Hunt said, referring to the government’s hopes of vaccinating the population this year.
Australia had hoped to use 4 million doses of the two vaccines by the end of March, but had only injected 1.2 million doses by Monday.
An 80-year-old Australian man on Monday became the first COVID-19 death in Australia this year և the 910th since the outbreak.
The man was living in the Philippines, where he became infected. He died in a hotel quarantine as a returning traveler and died at Brisbane Hospital.