Australia October vaccination target all but over after AstraZeneca concerns prompt rollout shakeup
A Terrible Conundrum for the AstraZeneca Vaccine
For the moment, reports of a very rare, dangerous blood disorder among recipients cannot be ignored.That’s why the past few weeks have felt so catastrophic.
Hopes of all Australians having at least their first COVID-19 vaccine by October look all but dashed following a late-night shakeup of the nation's rollout plans.
It was a scene reminiscent of last year's late-night prime ministerial press conferences to announce the locking down of the nation as the coronavirus took hold.
Flanked by the nation's chief medical leaders,.
The details are light and the government is promising more information in the coming days, but here's what we know about the new plan.
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.
Remind me, where is the rollout at?
The government is rolling out the vaccine in phases.
The first phase was calledand it began in late February.
The plan was to give people in this category the Pfizer vaccine only, with the government expecting it would require up to 1.4 million vaccines.
The second phase, 1b, began in March and this is where Australia is up to.
Phase 1b includes people aged 70 years and older, healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, critical and high-risk workers and adults with underlying medical conditions.
This phase is forecast to require up to 14.8 million doses.
The government initially forecasted up to 4 million COVID-19 vaccine does would have been administered by early March but.
Australia needs to rethink its Covid-19 vaccine rollout, doctor says
Epidemiologist professor Nancy Baxter says the Federal Government won't reach its target to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of the year if they continue on the current trajectory. 'We need to do it faster than we were hoping before, if we're hoping to get everyone vaccinated by the end of the year,' she told Weekend Today. Her doubts come after several setbacks to the vaccine program, which include a delayed rollout and advice, from the country's chief immunisation authority, against the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
What if I had my first shot with AstraZeneca?
If you are under the age of 50 and have already received your first AstraZeneca dose without experiencing any serious side effects, authorities say it is safe to receive your second one.
People who have had blood clots "associated with low platelet levels" after their first AstraZeneca dose should not be given the second.
However, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says that only applies to one person in Australia so far —.
Advice previously released by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) said "common and expected" vaccine side effects like headaches, muscle aches, fever and chills usually develop within the first 24 hours and last one to two days.
However, the onset of recent blood clotting cases was between four and 20 days after vaccination, with symptoms such as a severe, persistent headache that cannot be eased by regular painkillers.
Got a COVID vaccine question? Ask our medical experts in the ABC coronavirus blog
To bring you up to speed, here's a rundown of common COVID vaccines and where they fit into Australia's vaccination rollout.Associate professor Hassan Vally from La Trobe University and the ABC's national medical reporter Sophie Scott will be answering questions in the COVID blog from 11:00am AEST.
"Patients may also present with features of raised intracranial pressure (acute severe headache, vomiting, confusion), focal neurological deficits and/or seizures," it said.
Will I still get my first vaccine by October?
It looks like some people will, but not everyone.
The federal government had planned to have every Australian vaccinated with at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October.
However, the Prime Minister said the new medical advice has changed the rollout plan but he would not be drawn on outlining a new timeline.
"I think we have to take the time to assess the implications for the programme," he said.
"And when we've done that, well, we may be able to form a view but I don't think anyone should expect that any time soon. This will take some time to work through the implications."
Mr Morrison was pushed on whether all Australians could at least get their first dose by Christmas but he would not engage in any suggested dates.
The timeline is also dependent on how many vaccines are available and at the moment the figure is well below initial expectations.
Here's why the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is recommended for over 50s but not other Australians
But if you're wondering what Australia's vaccine changes mean for you, or whether it's still safe to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, here's what the expert advice is saying.With the government accepting advice that the small risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine means it should not be given to people under 50, its plan to vaccinate Australians against the virus is in disarray.
Why can't we just switch to Pfizer?
Put simply, we don't yet have enough.
The federal government has only secured 20 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, enough for 10 million Australians.
Because Pfizer's vaccine is based on mRNA technology, which has never been successfully manufactured or distributed locally before,.
Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy said Australian authorities are still negotiating with Pfizer for additional doses.
"We are confident at some stage in the near future we will get an improved supply of Pfizer."
Until then, Mr Morrison said the Pfizer vaccines would be prioritised for individuals who needed it the most.
When will we know more from the government?
This is a major change and the entire rollout will need an overhaul.
The government is now reviewing the nation's vaccine portfolio and it will need to adjust the vaccination program to account for the new recommendations.
The task now will be to work through the "logistics" and the "calibration" of how that is done.
The vaccine rollout and advice on AstraZeneca were always on the agenda for Friday's National Cabinet and now that will be top of the list.
Mr Morrison said he would take questions and discussions from the meeting into account when reworking the program in the days to come.
We can expect an update after National Cabinet, but in terms of the overall impact of these changes, Mr Morrison said it's too early to say.
"I mean, this now has to be considered," he said.
"The impacts assessed and the program evaluated and recalibrated. Once we've done that, we'll be in a better position to understand those implications."
Morrison’s 3.1 million vaccine claim is a crock. His own words tell us so .
The government is inventing reasons why the vaccine rollout is is such a debacle, but the lies and cover-up can't obscure the truth that it's been bungled.Yesterday, when asked why the government was so badly adrift of its initial forecast that 4 million people would be vaccinated by the end of March, Morrison replied: