Canberra, Australia (AP) —Australia announced on Friday that it has signed an agreement to purchase another 20 million Pfizer vaccines as a result of a rapid shift from its previous plan of relying primarily on AstraZeneca vaccines.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deal hours after Australia said it would stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of fifty.
He said the deal would allow Australia to receive a total of 40 million Pfizer vaccines by the end of the year, sufficient for 20 million people in 26 million countries.
Australia’s point is after the European Medicines Agency said this week that there is a “potential link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, but UK and European Union regulators have decided to get the vaccine. Benefits continue to be a risk for most people.
Following the declaration of the European agency, Australian drug regulators held a series of emergency meetings on Thursday recommending that the Pfizer vaccine be the recommended vaccine for people under the age of 50.
Morrison said there was no ban on the AstraZeneca vaccine and there was little risk of side effects. He said the changes were made with great care.
Pivots represent a significant change in Australia’s overall approach and could delay plans to inoculate everyone by October.
Much of Australia’s strategy was the ability to produce its own vaccines domestically, independent of international shipments. It planned to produce about 50 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, sufficient for 25 million people. Australia had no plans to make other vaccines in the country.
Even before the change, the government faced criticism of deployment programs that lag behind those of most other developed countries. So far, Australia has been vaccinated over a million times.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the deployment was a disaster and Australians need to be certain when they will be vaccinated.
“This government has failed. It was unable to run the chayote vine over the fence behind it,” Albanese told reporters, producing pear-shaped fruits in the Australian climate. Mentioned plants that grow easily.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said everyone would be kept safe and vaccinated, with some adjustments.
Australia managed to eradicate the spread of the virus to the community and continue to live as it did before the pandemic.
AstraZeneca said Australia’s decision to limit the use of vaccines was based on the absence of infection to the community.
“Overall, regulators have reaffirmed that the vaccine provides a high level of protection for all severity of COVID-19 and that these benefits far outweigh the risks,” the company said. Said in a statement.