Can Australia blame Europe for the vaccine problem?


Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits CSL's vaccine manufacturing lab in Melbourne

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits CSL’s vaccine manufacturing lab in Melbourne

So far, Australia has been widely admired for handling coronaviruses during the pandemic.

However, when it comes to vaccination, we are far behind other countries and have not been able to achieve our unique goals.

Last week, it was 85% below the first big deadline. We plan to administer 4 million doses by March.

In the fire, Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused the European Union of delaying the shipment of several AstraZeneca vaccines.

“”[It] It was a supply issue. “It’s pure and simple,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

But is this the main reason Australia’s vaccination program has been delayed so far?

What is the background?

Australia’s first efforts to secure the vaccine seemed promising. The country was one of the first countries to announce an order with AstraZeneca, defeating the local production capacity of vaccines with medical company CSL.

Australia uses a combination of Pfizer and vaccines, including potential Novavax products, to immunize a population of 25 million.

It relies heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, and last year the country ordered 3.8 million doses. These doses from the pharmaceutical giant were expected to be delivered by January.

However, that month, the European Commission enforced an export ban on some vaccine orders as European authorities faced a third wave of surges in their country.

In March, the European Commission blocked 250,000 shipments to Australia. Australia argued that local infection rates were very low and that there was a high need for vaccines in Europe.

At that time, Australia downplayed the move. Health Minister Greg Hunt said that only 250,000 “one shipments” did not affect Australia’s deployment plans and were not “considered” in Australia’s first distribution phase.

Hunt also emphasized Australia’s local capabilities. He argued that CSL would soon be given about 1 million doses per week. That goal has not been achieved.

How is Australia expanding?

Australia is in the second phase of a four-stage deployment. Dose is provided to people over 70 years old, people in elderly housing with care, frontline health care workers, first aid personnel, people over 55 years old in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people with underlying health conditions. I will.

Still, less than one million people have been vaccinated so far. Concerns have been raised among Australians as they fell well below the March target.

Morrison has come out swaying this week, blaming European authorities for a stagnation in supply.

AstraZeneca vaccine vial

Australia fell 85% below its March 31 vaccination target

The Australian government has said it has received only 700,000 orders for AstraZeneca. According to Morrison, there is a shortage of 3.1 million doses.

In response, the European Commission said Tuesday that it had postponed only one shipment of 250,000 shipments to Australia.

At a press conference a few hours later, Morrison told reporters that the situation was “simple math.”

“Of the 3.8 million doses, 3.1 million did not come to Australia, which clearly had a huge impact on the early deployment of vaccination programs.”

The European Commission has not yet had the opportunity to respond to Mr Morrison’s allegations.

Who is wrong?

The picture is not clear.

Australia’s contradictions regarding the impact of the European block on AstraZeneca’s supply left a lot of confusion. Questions have also been raised as to why the government did not cause any contingencies when AstraZeneca’s orders were suspended.

The lack of public information on Australian vaccine progress also makes it difficult to assess deployment progress.

For example, Australians are provided daily with up-to-date information on the number of people who have received shots. However, there are no details about how many doses are present in the country or the local production rate at CSL.

The government said this week it would consider providing better public data. Still, critics point out that Canberra was trying to minimize pace concerns before the government identified supply issues-the vaccine deployment did not demand urgency.

The government also previously rejected or did not respond to worrisome reports from frontline people.

Doctors who have been vaccinated in the clinic for the past few weeks have expressed concern about the lack of vaccine supply. The national general practitioner’s union was talking about this issue.

Two state governments, New South Wales and Queensland, have accused the federal government of failing to provide certainty about the number of vaccines offered. In turn, it slowed people to schedule for appointments.

“We are far behind all the promises Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt have made to the Australian people,” Labor Party health minister Mark Butler said Wednesday. “Sure, they have to admit that this doesn’t work.”

Morrison says the pace will inevitably accelerate as vaccines are delivered to more people.

The goals have also been adjusted. Instead of giving all Australians a full vaccination by October, the government aims to get all Australians the first vaccination by October.