Politicians and medical experts in Australia are trading for a slow vaccine rollout as the country struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak in its largest city, Sydney.
According to figures from the New York Times, only 9.5 percent of Australia’s population of 26 million have been fully vaccinated, with 27 percent receiving at least one dose – a figure that lags behind many other wealthy countries. . Changing advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine has hindered the rollout of Dosage, the only domestically manufactured one, that officials currently only recommend for people over 60. People under 40 are not yet eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, the only option, because of a lack of supplies.
The body, a panel of health experts known as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, issued recommendations starting in April that young people should wait until the Pfizer vaccine is available, because of the blood pressure associated with AstraZeneca shots. Because of the very low risk of clots. On Tuesday, the group revised its advice saying that during the outbreak, when Pfizer was in short supply, people should consider getting AstraZeneca shots despite the rare clotting risk.
Mr Morrison said the group’s initial advice constrained use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, in which Australia had invested the most, and was based on the assumption that case numbers in the country would remain low. “I never made that assumption,” he said.
The advisory group replied that its role was only to provide guidance and that the federal government was responsible for decision-making.
The finger-pointing was increasing in the state of New South Wales with the outbreak rising to 900 cases in Sydney, which includes the city, for a third week in a row. On Wednesday, the head of state, Gladys Berejiklian, said the case numbers were “stable”. But officials in Australia’s second largest state, Victoria, which also includes Melbourne, announced a five-day lockdown after a cluster of infections linked to Sydney’s outbreak rose to 18 people. Three of them were suspected of being infected at a sporting event over the weekend, which was attended by tens of thousands of people. More than 10 million people in Australia are now in lockdown.
Mr Morrison’s government has also faced criticism for being slow in procuring other vaccines. Australia expects to receive 40 million doses of Pfizer by the end of this year, of which about three-quarters are yet to arrive. Government announced last week that some anticipated doses will be delivered from September to August.
After this the opposition leaders intensified their attacks. reported over the weekend That a former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, had called on the chief executive of Pfizer in a personal capacity to lobby for a higher dose, at the request of business leaders. Mr Morrison’s government responded by saying it was in communication with Pfizer’s Australia chief of operations.
Mr Morrison has also argued that supply chain delays – such as Italy’s blocked AstraZeneca dose bound for Australia earlier this year – and vaccine misinformation. spread by some MPs Disrupted the provision of vaccines.