Covid-19: Australian health experts propose delaying AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

Covid-19: Australian health experts propose delaying AstraZeneca vaccine rollout”

The health expert, who requested anonymity, said they were already reviewing the data of three vaccines developed by the Chinese, European and Russian manufacturers, and added that they had sought more details from the manufacturers as there were several questions and concerns that need to be addressed before selecting one or more "suitable" vaccines for the people.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the Federal Government has adopted a "portfolio approach" to be in the position to nab a range of coronavirus vaccines.

The agency defended its handling of the vaccines approval process, saying "authorisations are granted when the evidence shows convincingly that the benefits of vaccination are greater than any risks of the vaccine". The problem is that we rely heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the vast majority of Australians will get it.

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.

There are no questions about the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca option, which was approved for use in the United Kingdom earlier this month, or the need for a vaccine.

"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. He proposed to suspend the planned rollout of vaccinations with AstraZeneca and purchase more effective ones.

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"I think one can predict that there is going to be further transmission of the virus so we need populations to be protected as soon as possible", he said.

Approval has been given to get more than a million doses of Sinopharm's vaccine from China, he said.

Initial trials have shown the AstraZeneca vaccine to have a slightly lower efficacy than the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, at around 60-70%.

The government, however, maintained that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can provide effective protection against SARS-CoV-2.

"The choice is not whether one is better than the other, it's which one is available to give the maximum rollout of vaccine ... to protect lives this year", Kelly said.

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