But the government shrugged off the target after notifying last week that Pfizer is now the preferred choice for people under 50 because of the potential risk of rare blood clots associated with AstraZeneca.
A man in the state of Victoria who received an injection of AstraZeneca on March 22 had to be hospitalized for a blood clot. The second case was reported Tuesday of a woman who was inoculated in the state of Western Australia and admitted to hospital in Darwin, regulators said in a statement.
With 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca injected in Australia since early March, the two cases are equivalent to a frequency of freezing 1-in-350,000, regulators said. British authorities say the risk of such blood clots is 1 in 250,000 in the country.
The government has doubled Pfizer’s orders to 40 million doses and Hunt said shipments of an additional 20 million doses were expected in the last three months of 2021.
“That means a significant sprint for those who weren’t vaccinated by then,” said Hunt, referring to the government’s hopes of having the population inoculated this year.
Australia hopes to deliver 4 million doses of the two vaccines by the end of March, but only injected 1.2 million doses on Monday.
An 80-year-old Australian man on Monday became Australia’s first COVID-19 death this year and 910 since the pandemic began.