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Australia is overhauling its vaccination plan. An initial effort to distribute millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot has given way to apparent preference for rival Pfizer’s vaccine.
Just one day after it recommended that people under 50 should take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine instead of AstraZeneca’s, the country on Friday doubled its Pfizer order to 40 million shots. That’s enough to cover four-fifths of its population.
Until late Thursday, Australia largely based its vaccine drive on its order for 50 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. That’s enough to inoculate the entire country.
But Australia has become the latest country to restrict use of that vaccine due to blood clotting concerns.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made clear that Australia is not banning use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“There is a recommendation for a preference but these are matters that individuals can discuss with their doctor, and even when we get to the next phase, in Phase Two, we are still talking about millions and millions of Australians over the age of 50 for whom the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended - no recommended against, recommended for.”
As he made those remarks, concerns over AstraZeneca’s treatment continue to tail the drugmaker: Europe’s drug regulator said Friday it’s reviewing reports of a bleeding condition in people after receiving AstraZeneca’s vaccine and looking into Johnson & Johnson’s shot over reports of rare blood clots.
J&J said it’s working closely with regulators and experts to assess the data.
Separately, J&J said it is in talks with India to start a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine there.