By Juliano Oliveira
The Australian Government will anticipate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for patients over 50 amid tensions and uncertainties around AstraZeneca’s safety.
Rare blood clot cases linked to the Oxford vaccine have been reported worldwide from people under 50 who received the dose, including in Australia.
Gathered yesterday, the National Cabinet agreed to make alterations to the country’s vaccination strategy, with Australians 50 years of age and older receiving their jabs earlier than expected.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison reassured the efficiency and safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Australians 50 years of age and older.
“The priority of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy remains to vaccinate vulnerable populations under priority groups 1a and 1b,” Mr Morrison said.
“The medical advice remains that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and recommended for Australians 50 years of age and older, and all states will continue to be prioritised AstraZeneca for Australians 50 years of age and older.”
The doses’ administration via general practice will continue to be the primary channel of distribution, with states and territories considering options to supplement rollout through expanded state vaccination centres.
“The Commonwealth will continue to finalise the vaccination of residential aged care facility (RACF) residents with Pfizer using an in-reach model.
National Cabinet will meet again on Thursday, 22 April 2021,” Mr Morrison said.
To date, 1,586,252 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia. The number of administration sites continues to expand, with 4,500 general practices, general practice respiratory centres and Aboriginal health services now administering COVID-19 vaccinations.
Last week, the Federal Government named Pfizer the preferred vaccine for patients under 50.