Federal Labor said Australians should be offered a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the end of the year to protect the health of the population.
- The federal government expects Australians over the age of 18 to receive their first dose by the end of October
- This timeframe has been postponed following changes in medical advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine
- Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler said it was imperative that people be vaccinated immediately to protect the health of the population
The federal government predicts Australians over 18 will receive their first dose by the end of October, but plans have gone haywire after a change in medical advice for AstraZeneca’s jab, the main vaccine for launch.
State medical expert on Thursday recommends the Pfizer vaccine be used as the injection of choice for adults under 50 years of age, after European Medical authorities warned of a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clotting disorder.
Given Australia’s heavy reliance on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, the government is working hard to secure millions of additional Pfizer doses from abroad to ensure the entire population can be vaccinated safely.
Labor has long argued that Australia needed deals with more pharmaceutical companies and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler said last week’s events had shown why.
“Some experts in Australia are saying that the best practice is to have more than four deals, five, six deals, the UK has seven deals, to ensure redundancy in our system, to make sure there are reserves when something like AstraZeneca’s advice comes up,” said Mr Butler.
“The UK, for example, is also dealing with the fact that they are not going to give AstraZeneca to young people, but they have been able to replace the Moderna vaccine, a highly effective advanced MRNA vaccine, and will soon replace the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as well.”
Mr Butler said it is very important people get vaccinated as soon as possible, to protect against possible variants of the virus.
“Around the world, countries are preparing a possible booster shot to deal with this variant later this year,” he said.
“Moderna has sent a booster shot for trials in the US. As I said, the British government is preparing a booster shot by the end of this year. It is not only about the strength of our economic recovery, it is also about the health of our population.”
‘That must be the goal.’
Trade Minister Dan Tehan emphasized that the government will do its best so that all Australians get vaccinated by the end of this year.
“It’s clearly the goal, that’s the goal as we said, to try and get all Australians on a dose by the end of the year. But we have to remember that we are facing a pandemic, things can change,” he told Sky News.
Mr Tehan said he would travel to Europe this weekend to engage in “vaccine diplomacy”, after problems with the supply of vaccines from Europe delayed the initial rollout in Australia.
“I would like to speak with the EU as well as ministerial partners in France, Germany and Brussels, and I will also meet with the Director General of the World Trade Organization to talk about what we can do to ensure the supply of vaccines, not only for Australia but globally. , “he said.
“I will also speak with (WTO Director General Okonjo-Iweala) about the vaccines and export restrictions that have been imposed; he is outspoken against the export restrictions.”