Australia drops Covid-19 vaccination roll-out targets

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says they will waive the national vaccine roll-out targets on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

Vaccine injected into shoulder.
Australia had initially based its vaccination programme on the AstraZeneca shots, but has now joined various other countries in restricting its use following a number of blood clot cases. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN, April 12 (ANA) – Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that the nation will waive its national vaccine roll-out targets on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

Morrison released a statement on his Facebook page which said the Australian government would not set, nor has any plans to set, new targets for completing administering first doses.

Australia had initially based its vaccination programme on the AstraZeneca shots but has now joined various other countries in restricting its use following a number of blood clot cases.

“While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved,” Morrison wrote.

“We will just get on with the job of working together to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible,” he said.

Morrison added that their current research data shows that more than 142,000 doses were administered to aged care residents, with over 46,000 of these residents being second doses.

Last week, Morrison announced that they had secured 40 million Pfizer vaccine doses following the ATAGI’s decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the increased risk.

The Guardian reported that the new shots would only arrive later this year.

“What I can say about Pfizer is that we have had a regular supply since the middle of February,” chief medical officer Paul Kelly said in a statement on the Department of Health’s website.

“And it’s started a little bit lower and has now gone up to over 100,000 per week. It’s come every week, as Pfizer has promised to do.

“We continue to talk to them about increasing the rate of that, given that they have guaranteed on our first part of our contract with them to supply 20 million by the end of the year,” said Kelly.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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