Plan to vaccinate all people by the end of the year who have been given up after concerns that blood clots will change medical advice on using AstraZeneca.
Australia has abandoned its goal of vaccinating nearly all 26 million people in the country against COVID-19 by the end of 2021 after medical authorities changed their recommendations on vaccine use for those under 50.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would not set a new target for all first doses to be given.
“The government has not set any new targets for the completion of the first cans and has no plans,” wrote Morrison on his Facebook page on Sunday. “We want these cans to be completed before the end of the year, but it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved.
The Australian vaccination program has been geared towards the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, regulators took a more cautious approach after seeing a tiny number of rare cases of blood clots, particularly in younger people, who had received the sting.
Medical authorities recommended last week that people under the age of 50 use the Pfizer BioNTech shot instead.
The Ice Age pace of rollout and slide targets – the entire population was originally supposed to have been vaccinated by the end of October – has fueled anger, although coronavirus cases in the country have been all but eradicated.
Morrison said 1.16 million people had their doses by Sunday, far fewer than the four million who were supposed to have had their puffs by the end of March.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheap and easy to transport, should be the backbone of the Australian $ 7 billion ($ 5.32 billion) vaccination program. Almost four million cans have been ordered from overseas and another 50 million are set to be made at a facility in Melbourne.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison received his vaccine – the Pfizer / BioNTech shot – in February [File: Steven Saphore/AFP]The government had also ordered 20 million doses of Pfizer Jab – although only about a million were dispensed – and doubled this week after changing medical advice.
Critics, including the opposition Labor Party, said the government should have signed more contracts with vaccine developers to diversify its vaccine portfolio. It has also signed up for the Novavax shock, which has yet to be approved, and is part of the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.
Morrison assured Australians that 1,000 more general practitioners would be recruiting for the rollout this week, noting that 142,000 doses were given to the elderly in more than 1,000 nursing homes, of which more than 46,000 were secondary doses in more than 500 facilities.
“We will just continue to work together to manufacture, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible,” he said, noting that the pace of the Australian vaccination program was in line with other countries, including Germany and France. and ahead of Canada and Japan.
Australia’s harsh response to the virus – closing borders, imposing hotel quarantines, and an effective testing and tracking system – has largely wiped out COVID-19 so people can get on with their lives as usual.
But the border closings have also resulted in tens of thousands of Australians unable to return home and those who are already in the country unable to leave.
Almost 90,400 cases of the coronavirus have been reported since the pandemic began, with 909 deaths.