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Australia War of words: Why has Australia's vaccine rollout been delayed?

08:25  07 april  2021
08:25  07 april  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

Decision about AstraZeneca's use in Australia to be make this week

  Decision about AstraZeneca's use in Australia to be make this week An urgent investigation was launched into the potential side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine after a Melbourne man who received the jab was hospitalised with a rare blood clotting condition. Experts have been holding talks with European regulators to determine whether the 44-year-old's low blood platelets and 22 other similar cases in the UK are linked to the vaccine. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) will convene on Wednesday to weigh up the risks and benefits of AstraZeneca jabs once further information is provided from international discussions.

It was expected four million Australians would be vaccinated by now, but supply shortages have caused significant delays to the rollout.

Only 920,334 people have had their jabs so far, and the Federal Government has blamed the European Union for holding back millions of doses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it's a "simple fact" that 3.1 million doses have not turned up, confirming he's seeking formal approval for the release of the blocked vaccines.

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a close up of a bottle: Australian authorities say they were left short of 3.1 million expected doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the EU. © Getty Australian authorities say they were left short of 3.1 million expected doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the EU.

So how many vaccines have we received from overseas?

At last count, only 870,000 doses of the highly-sought Pfizer vaccine had landed in Australia, out of the 20 million Australia is contracted to receive.

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  Young Australians' hopes for an overseas holiday could be dashed Australia had been aiming to open its international borders beyond New Zealand from the end of October when every citizen was expected to receive at least their first vaccine dose. But that timeline is now almost impossible to meet following Thursday's announcement the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine - which Australia had purchased the most doses of - was no longer recommended for under 50s, only the Pfizer jab.

And around 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have arrived from overseas, despite the Federal Government expecting 3.8 million.

What's the reason for the hold up?

Europe is keen to hang onto as many doses as possible for its own citizens, even if it comes at a cost of helping other nations.

But overnight, the European Union said it had only blocked the shipment of 250,000 doses to Australia in early March.

a hand holding a remote control: The delay in delivery of doses from Europe has led to a war of words. © Getty The delay in delivery of doses from Europe has led to a war of words.

Why is this causing a fight with the European Union?

This dispute is purely based on semantics.

The Federal Government accused the EU of leaving Australia "cut short" of 3.1 million doses of AstraZeneca.

In response, the EU said it had only formally blocked 250,000, arguing AstraZeneca hasn't asked for the release of the rest.

Mr Morrison now says he'll ask again for the "full amount" of doses - 3.8 million - to be released.

Is that likely to happen?

There is a lot of uncertainty over whether any more doses will arrive from overseas, pinning big hopes on the tiny vials being produced at CSL.

The Melbourne manufacturer is yet to reach the target of 1 million AstraZeneca doses produced each week, leading Mr Morrison to further temper expectations.

"There are no absolute guarantees when it comes to this," he said.

Karl Stefanovic says he is nervous about getting the AstraZeneca jab .
Today host Karl Stefanovic, 46, said on Monday he would preference waiting for an alternative vaccine such as Pfizer over being administered doses of the AstraZeneca jab.Stefanovic, 46, said on Monday he would preference waiting for an alternative vaccine such as Pfizer over being administered doses of the AstraZeneca jab, when speaking to Professor Kristine Macartney.

usr: 2
This is interesting!