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Australia Australia WON'T buy successful one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid jab

05:31  13 april  2021
05:31  13 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Australia has rejected calls to buy the highly-regarded, one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine to replace the scrapped AstraZeneca rollout.

The country's vaccination plan was thrown into chaos when a link to a rare blood clotting was discovered in the AstraZeneca jab.

Anyone under 50 is now advised against getting it and states are refusing to administer it unless the patient already had their first shot.

The government was in talks last week with Johnson & Johnson and manufacturer Janssen, which asked for approval for its vaccine from Australia's medicine regulator.

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Greg Hunt wearing a suit and tie sitting in a chair: Federal Health minister Greg Hunt has ruled out proceeding with the purchase at this stage because it is too similar to the AstraZeneca drug - which raised fears over blood clotting in a small number of cases © Provided by Daily Mail Federal Health minister Greg Hunt has ruled out proceeding with the purchase at this stage because it is too similar to the AstraZeneca drug - which raised fears over blood clotting in a small number of cases a woman wearing a costume: A registered nurse delivers a member of the public, Kacey Johnson (pictured) her one dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Covid vaccine this week in the United States © Provided by Daily Mail A registered nurse delivers a member of the public, Kacey Johnson (pictured) her one dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Covid vaccine this week in the United States

Aside from the convenience of needing only one dose, the vaccine fared well in the results of tests with 40,000 volunteers.

It offered 66 per cent protection against moderate Covid-19 disease and 85 per cent protection against severe disease.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt ruled out proceeding with the purchase at this stage because it is too similar to the AstraZeneca drug.

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'The Janssen vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine, the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine,' he said through a spokesperson.

'The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time.'

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine has the advantage of needing only one dose, but like the AstraZeneca jab it is an adenovirus vaccine and carries similar blood clotting risks © Provided by Daily Mail Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine has the advantage of needing only one dose, but like the AstraZeneca jab it is an adenovirus vaccine and carries similar blood clotting risks

But there is another reason the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine won't be added to Australia's vaccine stocks at present.

Johnson & Johnson also required a no-fault compensation scheme before it would sell vaccines to Australia, which the government was not committed to introducing.

A no-fault compensation scheme allows patients to receive redress from the government, in the event of harm caused by a vaccine, without going to court.

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A Janssen spokeswoman said the company had a consistent approach to advance purchase agreements for vaccines, The Age reported.


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'The availability of our vaccine candidate is subject to successful development, regulatory approval as well as the existence of an efficient, effective no-fault compensation system and robust liability protection,' she said.

The US, which is rolling out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, has a no-fault compensation system, as does the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada.

Peak medical bodies said Australia is overdue for a no-fault compensation scheme, especially with high rates of vaccination considered important to win the fight against Covid-19.

a man and woman posing for a picture: Registered nurse Rebecca DeJong receives the Pfizer jab from colleague Morgan Sleader at Townsville University Hospital © Provided by Daily Mail Registered nurse Rebecca DeJong receives the Pfizer jab from colleague Morgan Sleader at Townsville University Hospital

Labor health spokesman Mark Butler said it was not good enough for the minister to announce his decision through a spokesperson.

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Mr Butler wants to know the reasons behind the decision, and greater accountability from the whole government on the vaccine rollout.

'This is the problem Australians and Australian businesses are having right now - the communication channels from the government have shut down,' he told the ABC on Tuesday.

'We've got a prime minister that's retreated to Facebook and a minister who's making announcements through a spokesperson without clear background information.'

Labor spent months calling on the government to secure more vaccine deals, arguing most countries have five or six different options.

Scott Morrison has taken to Facebook to reassure Australians about the vaccine rollout.

Mr Morrison has abandoned all vaccine timelines and targets after medical authorities recommended people aged under 50 get the Pfizer vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca jab, which was the country's mainstay.

At present, an order of an additional 20 million Pfizer vaccines appear to be the answer to Australia's vaccine woes.

a group of people sitting at a table: Johnson & Johnson has said it will only sell its vaccines to countries that have 'no-fault' compensation schemes © Provided by Daily Mail Johnson & Johnson has said it will only sell its vaccines to countries that have 'no-fault' compensation schemes Scott Morrison in a suit standing in front of a curtain: Scott Morrison (pictured right) announced the government was not recommending the AstraZeneca vaccnie for people under 50 at a press conference last week © Provided by Daily Mail Scott Morrison (pictured right) announced the government was not recommending the AstraZeneca vaccnie for people under 50 at a press conference last week

Mr Morrison claimed targets were not possible as Covid 'writes its own rules'.

'You don't get to set the agenda,' he said.

'Rather than set targets that can get knocked about by every to and fro of international supply chains and other disruptions that can occur, we are just getting on with it.'

Mr Morrison said Australia's current rate of 1.2 million vaccinations to date was comparable to other major countries.

But government figures show Australia's rollout, compared to 12 other nations, is running behind the UK, US, Singapore, Belgium, Italy and Germany.

Business groups have warned the strength of the country's economic recovery depends on the vaccine rollout.

They argue if the Morrison government is no longer willing to set timetables, it should at least set major vaccine milestones, so that businesses can plan for the future.

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