Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia has doubled its Pfizer covid-19 vaccine order after restricting the use of AstraZeneca due to rare cases of blood clots.
Until late Thursday, Australia’s vaccination program was mainly based on the AstraZeneca vaccine. 50 million doses of the vaccine were ordered, enough to give the entire country’s 25 million people two doses of the vaccine.
But now, because blood clots rarely occur among young people, it has joined a group of countries that restrict the use of vaccines.
As a result, Australia has now ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, twice the amount previously ordered.
This change in vaccination policy actually means that the government will not be able to complete its national vaccination plan before the end of October.
Morrison told reporters in Canberra after his government meeting: “This is not a ban on the use of AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Morrison said: “It is still strongly recommended that people over the age of 50 get the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
More than a dozen countries temporarily suspended AstraZeneca’s vaccination at some point, but most countries continue, but now restrict the vaccine to the elderly.
Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal announced on Thursday that they will restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 60 years of age.
Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (close to two-thirds of the population) has stopped using AstraZeneca until all data that can inform patients about the risks are available.
Even before Australia doubled the order of Pfizer vaccines, AstraZeneca announced that it would respect Australia’s decision and cooperate with regulatory agencies around the world to “understand individual cases, epidemiology and possible mechanisms that may explain these extremely rare events.” “.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Wednesday that it had reported that among the 34 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, there were 169 rare cases of coagulopathy, or 1 in 100,000 people under the age of 60.
Most of these cases were reported under 60 years of age and within two weeks of vaccination.