CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia said on Friday it had reached a final agreement to buy an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine as it quickly reversed its previous plan to rely heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deal hours after Australia stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 50.
He said the deal meant Australia would receive a total of 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 20 million people in a country of 26 million.
The Australian axis came after the European Medicines Agency said it had found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca “rare blood tissue” vaccine this week, although regulators in the United Kingdom and the European Union said the benefits of the vaccine continued to outweigh the risks to most people.
Following the announcement by the European Agency for Reconstruction and Development, Australian drug regulators held a series of emergency meetings on Thursday advising that the Pfizer vaccine be the preferred vaccine for people under 50 years of age.
Morrison said that there is no barrier to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the risk of side effects is far away. He said the change was made out of caution.
The key is to make a significant difference to Australia’s overall approach – likely to delay vaccination plans until October.
An important part of Australia’s strategy has been to be able to make its own vaccines at home and rely on shipments from abroad. It planned to produce about 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is enough for 25 million people. Australia did not intend to make other vaccines at home.
Even before the change, the government was criticized for its commissioning program, which lags behind that of many other developed countries. To date, Australia has administered more than 1 million doses of the vaccine.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese says the popular initiative is failing and Australians need to decide when to get vaccinated.
“This government has failed. “This government could not run a choco vine back through the fence,” Albanes told reporters, referring to a plant that bears fruit and grows easily in Australia’s climates.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said there would be some adjustments, but all would be saved and vaccinated.
Australia has managed to curb the spread of the virus in the community, allowing life to continue as long as the epidemic.
AstraZeneca notes that Australia’s decision to restrict the use of the vaccine is based on the fact that it has no community transmission.
“Overall, regulators have reaffirmed that the vaccine offers a high level of protection against all of COVID-19’s severity; these benefits continue to outweigh the risks,” the company said in a statement.