Following New Recommendations On Astrazeneca Vaccines, Australia Has Abandoned COVID-19 Vaccination Goals
Published On:April 14, 2021
Following recommendations that people under the age of 50 take Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine rather than AstraZeneca's injection, Australia has abandoned a goal to vaccinate nearly all of its 26 million people by the end of 2021. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon that Australia had no plans to set any new deadlines for completing its vaccination programme, despite relying on the AstraZeneca vaccine for the majority of its shots.
After European regulators repeated the likelihood of connections between the AstraZeneca shot and records of unusual cases of blood clots, Canberra authorities reversed their recommendation on Pfizer shots for under-50s on Thursday. Australia had intended to have its whole population vaccinated by the end of October, but had to rush to double its order of the Pfizer vaccine last week.
While Australia's tough response to the virus effectively stopped community transmissions, the vaccine rollout has become a contentious political issue - and a source of contention between Morrison and state and territory representatives - after the country only vaccinated a fraction of its four million goal by the end of March.
Morrison added that about 1.16 million COVID-19 doses had been distributed, adding that Australia's vaccination programme was on par with other peer countries such as Germany and France, and ahead of Canada and Japan. Australia started vaccines much later than other countries, partially due to its low number of infections, which have totaled just under 29,400 since the pandemic began, with 909 deaths.
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