Australia plans to suspend AstraZeneca Covid vaccine by October

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Australia plans to suspend AstraZeneca Covid vaccine by October


The federal government has announced that it will put the controversial AstraZeneca vaccine on hold by October, suggesting that it will have enough other vaccines to meet “allocation horizons” to immunize the population by the end of this year. the year.

The government released a revised planning document on Wednesday outlining how it intends to direct procurement for the remainder of the year.

At the same time, Chief Medical Officer of Health Professor Paul Kelly said he was “worried” about the growth of the Bondi cluster and said that seven local government areas in Sydney would be recognized as national hotspots.

The immunization document, titled National Immunization Allocation Horizons, suggests that in July and August AstraZeneca will continue to dominate the immunization schedule, with up to 2.6 million doses delivered each week, mostly to people over the age of 18. age 60, in state and territory clinics and the primary care network.

But as the vaccination of this age group comes to an end, it is expected that AstraZeneca will only be used “on demand” from October.

Last week, the Commonwealth announced a change to the health advice for AztraZeneca firing, restricting it to people over 60, as it has been linked to an extremely rare blood-clotting disease.

In the “Horizon 2” phase in September, supplies of the Moderna vaccine come into service, with up to 125,000 doses per week to be made available to the primary care network, foreshadows the document.

At this point, Pfizer’s supplies will also increase, with up to 1.3 million doses per week available, compared to 750,000 per week available in July and August.

Pfizer’s supplies are set to increase again by the end of the year to between 1.7 million and 2.3 million doses per week, as the government strives to deliver on its commitment to enable every Australian to access a vaccine by the end of 2021.

Covid-19 commander Lt. Gen. John Frewen said the release of the planning data, which was presented to the national cabinet on Monday, would allow states to better plan for the deployment.

“This gives states all the best information possible to help them plan to get all the vaccines we can provide to their citizens as quickly as possible,” Frewen said Wednesday.

He said the publication of the document was in line with a commitment to provide “as much transparency” as possible on vaccine supply data. Frewen was confident that states would be able to administer the available doses.

The Covid commander also said he intends to release more detailed data on first and second doses in various age cohorts to keep the public informed.

Kelly said he was concerned about the high risk of transmission of the Delta variant during the latest Sydney outbreak, as the hotspot definition sparks additional support for the NSW government.

If the state government declares a foreclosure lasting longer than seven days, the declaration will also trigger federal emergency payments for affected workers.

Kelly said that while New South Wales’ contact tracers were the best in the country, the health department was faced with “three different complex settings” – dealing with cases at a school, on a plane and on a plane. ‘a party.

“We are concerned about the situation in Sydney,” Kelly said. ” I’m worried. There has been a very strong link between cases so far, but that has changed in the last 24 hours. “

The coalition has come under sustained pressure to roll out the vaccine, with just 3% of the adult population fully vaccinated.

Labor shadow Minister of Health Mark Butler said on Wednesday Australians were “paying the price” for Scott Morrison’s “lingering and persistent incompetence on vaccines and quarantine”.

Morrison in parliament said Labor had been asked to join the government in tackling the virus “but throughout the pandemic they have repeatedly chosen to just continue the political tally rather than join and support the national effort ”.

In the Senate, Elderly Care Minister Richard Colbeck revealed that only three in 20 nursing home staff had been fully immunized, while only a third of elderly care workers had received their first. dose.

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