Australia Health minister downplays AstraZeneca vaccine concerns
EMA recommends conditional approval of Astrazeneca's corona vaccine
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the go-ahead for Astrazeneca's corona vaccine to be approved in the EU. You recommend the conditional marketing approval of the vaccine of the British-Swedish group for vaccination to all people aged 18 and over, said the EU authority on Friday. She also released the vaccine for older people, although there had previously been doubts about the effectiveness of the preparation for them.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says concern around the effectiveness of a soon-to-be issuedis not necessary.
The health minister said despiteAustralian authorities saw no need to follow suit with the UK reporting "outstanding results".
"There are studies that have been done in South Africa so we will continue following that," Mr Hunt said.
"The advice as of this morning from the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Paul Kelly, and the head of the vaccine taskforce, Brendan Murphy, is very clear.
The EU-AstraZeneca vaccine fight, explained
The European Union’s vaccination program has struggled, and now the bloc is taking actions that could hamper global vaccine efforts.The EU purchased 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the company made in partnership with Oxford University, in advance of it being approved by EU regulators. But last week, AstraZeneca abruptly announced that due to production issues it would only be able to deliver about 40 percent of the total promised in the first quarter, or about 31 million doses, to the EU.
"There is currently no evidence to indicate a reduction in the effectiveness of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines and preventing severe disease and death."
South Africa halted the rollout of the AstraZeneca after data indicated it had lesser impact on the country's new, highly contagious strain of COVID-19.
Mr Hunt said the information coming out of the UK was cause for optimism.
"What we are seeing in the UK is very strong medical evidence with material being published by Oxford University," he said.
"There is a real-world experience of some billions of vaccinations that is occurring. We are seeing very positive results."
Questions surround AstraZeneca vaccine use for elderly
The subject of a sometimes acrimonious row between the EU and Britain, the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has also fuelled debate over its effectiveness among the elderly. And France is set to be the next EU nation to announce its own recommendation on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was shown in clinical trials to be 62 percent effective in preventing Covid-19. The main problem centres around the lack of data among elderly trial participants. Developers AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been transparent in disclosing that fewer than 10 percent of those it tested the vaccine on were 65 or older.Just 450 participants were over 70.
The health minister today announced the launch of online training modules for vaccinators.
The Federal Government has partnered with the Australian College of Nursing to deliver the free program and nobody will be allowed to administer vaccines unless they have completed the modules.
Mr Hunt said the rollout of the vaccines is still on track to start by the end of the month.
The health minister also noted that Australia's handling of the pandemic was the envy of the world.
"In speaking with colleagues from overseas in recent days, in the United States and in the United Kingdom, they look at Australia and they, frankly, are astonished at our achievement and envious of the position," Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt was also full of praise for health authorities inand for their quick response to their two latest cases.
"The states have responded quickly and comprehensively," Mr Hunt said.
"We have full confidence in both states and their responses."
S Africa looking to roll out AstraZeneca jab in ‘stepped manner’ .
Health officials are working with international scientists to draw up new COVID strategy after original plan’s halting.On Sunday, almost a week after receiving its first one million doses, the continent’s hardest-hit country said it would put on hold its use of the vaccine after research showed it was only minimally effective in preventing mild-to-moderate illness against a variant of the coronavirus now dominant in South Africa.