Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine boss warns against delaying immunisation rollout in Australia

Darnell Taylor
January 16, 2021

Australian Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly swiftly defended the decision to deliver the vaccine to Australians, fearing the potential for an undermining of public confidence regarding safety.

The Federal Government plans to administer the Pfizer vaccine to high-priority groups initially, while most Australians will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, which will be manufactured locally by biotechnology company CSL.

"We have gained access to the Pfizer vaccine, we have gained access to the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as other opportunities for other vaccines and more quantities of those vaccines", Mr Frydenberg told Today.

Lord pointed out that while the AstraZeneca vaccine may yield a lower effectiveness rate, it also does not require ultra-low temperature freezers for storage and is cheaper than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, on top of showing no serious adverse events or deaths with use. "The formation of herd immunity is really important because it is he who will stop the spread of the virus and help us return to normal life".

U.S. sanctions six pro-China officials over Hong Kong arrests
But semi-autonomous Hong Kong remains outside that firewall, a crucial component of its status as an global business hub. Honk Kong authorities yesterday blocked an anti-government website, HKChronicles, citing national security reasons.

Commenting on the vaccine, Andrew Miller, president of the Australian Medical Association in Western Australia said, as cited in the FT report, "Until we get more data that shows that AstraZeneca is as good as the others, the scientific and medical risk that you take is that you won't get herd immunity". The problem is that we rely heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the vast majority of Australians will get it.

For the time being Australia will continue with the manufacturing and planned roll out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, largely because that is what is available and practical at the time. She placed the largest one for the drug AstraZeneca - 53 million doses.

It comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said he now expects that at least four million people will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of September.

He informed that Pakistan has also pre-booked more than a million doses of Sinopharm's vaccine from China, adding that the Sinopharm vaccine is awaiting approval from Drap, which has received and reviewed its data. However, her trials were suspended in December after several study participants passed false-positive tests for HIV.

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