Health Minister Greg Hunt has defended the decision to make Pfizer the preferred vaccine for people aged under 50.
“I think the only possible course of action that any responsible government can take,” Mr Hunt said on Friday morning.
“What we have done is follow the medical advice in Australia.
“At different times other countries had not recommended border closures, but our medical advice recommended that and that has made a profound difference.
“Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine for people aged under 50 after Australia’s medical experts held a lengthy meeting on Thursday to discuss a rare but serious blood clotting side effect linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The government is now reviewing Australia’s vaccine portfolio as the entire rollout will require an overhaul.
“It is a challenge, and it’s a global challenge,” Mr Hunt said.
The company manufacturing the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia is showing little interest in changing its plans to produce 50 million doses, as the federal government moves to minimise the fallout from a decision to not offer the jab to most people aged under 50.
A panel of medical experts on Thursday night concluded Pfizer should be the preferred vaccine for under-50s given concerns the AstraZeneca product may cause a rare but serious blood clotting.
Read the full story by europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Bevan Shields here.
If you weren’t yet willing to concede Australia’s vaccine rollout was a disaster at lunchtime on Thursday, then by dinner time there was little room for debate.
Already three million jabs behind where the nation was supposed to be eight days ago, the decision by health authorities to advise against the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Australians under 50 is calamitous.
Unless the federal government can source millions of extra Pfizer doses from overseas within months, it is unlikely the nation will meet the October deadline of all Australians having received at least one dose. November or December may well be even too optimistic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was rather ashen-faced as he delivered the news to the nation a bit after 7pm. One can assume he was expecting medical experts to tell him the vaccine would be, like Britain, ruled out only for those under 30. That would have brought about a course correction but not one so dramatic as what now lies ahead.
Good morning and welcome to our live blog. Australia’s vaccine rollout is in disarray after experts said under-50s will not be given the AstraZeneca jab due to a possible link with rare blood clots.
Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine for people under 50 after medical experts held a lengthy meeting to discuss a rare but serious clotting side effect linked to AstraZeneca.
The government is now reviewing Australia’s vaccine portfolio as the entire rollout will require an overhaul, putting the government’s plan to vaccinate the entire population by October in doubt.
National cabinet will have discussions about the reopening of Australia when it meets on Friday, in light of the new advice.
We will bring you updates about this meeting and more throughout the day.