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Australia’s DLR slipped as vaccine rollouts slowed, still poised for a weekly hike | Instant News


SYDNEY, April 9 (Reuters) – The Australian dollar stumbled on Friday, pulling on the New Zealand dollar as well, due to concerns about a slowdown in Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout following the imposition of age-related restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca injections.

The Australian dollar was last down 0.6% at $ 0.7607, nearly reversing its gains from Thursday and falling back from a two-week peak of $ 0.7675 after failing to hold above major chart resistance at $ 0.7668.

Australia has limited the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – which is largely based on a vaccination program – because of the risk of blood clots. The policy change effectively undermined the government’s chances of inoculating the entire population that was not inoculated by October.

“Even if the vaccination program is slow, it will further complicate Australia’s launch schedule,” said Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA.

“Delayed border reopening equals negative for Australia.”

For the week so far, the Aussie is still up 0.3%, the first gain since the week of March 12th.

The currency has been consolidating around $ 0.7650 in recent weeks after a brief advance to $ 0.80 earlier this year. Some analysts expect the price to hit that high again.

“We continue to expect the AUD to rise to $ 0.85 in the first half of 2022, supported by high commodity prices and by the momentum gathering in the global recovery, including across Europe,” currency strategist Westpac wrote in a note.

Westpac expects the currency to hit $ 0.82 by the end of this year.

“The main source of increased growth is an increase in our forecast for US growth in 2021,” added the analysts.

The New Zealand dollar fell 0.5% to $ 0.7025. The kiwi faces resistance at $ 0.7070 with the next major barrier at $ 0.7100.

For the week this has been largely unchanged, marking another week of disappointing performance.

Separately, the prospect of a rate hike in China weighed on the antipodean currency after data showed the country’s factory prices rose at the fastest annual rate since July 2018 in March.

China is the top trading partner for Australia and New Zealand.

“Overall, AUD and NZD, are facing a number of obstacles today,” said Halley of OANDA. (Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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The Australian PM meets with state and territory leaders under pressure from a vaccine switch | Instant News


SYDNEY, April 9 (Reuters) – The Australian federal government faces a tense meeting with state and territory leaders on Friday following a sudden change to the country’s vaccination program sparked by a recommendation that people under 50 take Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine instead of an AstraZeneca shot. .

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the policy change, based on a possible link between AstraZeneca injections and rare cases of blood clots, would delay Australia’s planned inoculation which was behind schedule due to a shortage of supplies.

Australia has ordered 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, enough for 10 million out of a population of nearly 26 million, but has used the AstraZeneca vaccine for most injections with biopharma that CSL Ltd contracts to make 50 million doses domestically.

On Thursday, Australian authorities changed their recommendations after European regulators reiterated a possible link between AstraZeneca injections and reports of very rare cases of blood clots. As a result, plans to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of October will be scrapped, Morrison said.

“This is really changing the game for Australia and not in a good way,” Labor deputy senate chairman Kristina Keneally told Australian Broadcasting Corp on Friday.

“While we’re lucky we don’t have high community transmission rates at the moment, we know that can change.”

After the hardline response to the coronavirus largely halted community transmission, vaccination launches have become a hot political topic – and a source of friction between Morrison and state and territory leaders – after the country failed to hit its target of having four million people vaccinated in the end. – March.

Australia started vaccination much later than some other countries due to its low number of infections, just under 29,400, with 909 deaths, since the pandemic began. (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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Women under 60 years are at higher risk of experiencing rare freezing after receiving injection AstraZeneca – a German official | Instant News


BERLIN / ZURICH (Reuters) – An example of an extremely rare clotting condition in women under 60 who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was 20 times higher than would normally be expected, said Christian Bogdan, a member of Germany’s vaccines committee, on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine seen in Doctor Claudia Schramm’s public practice as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Maintal, Germany, 24 March 2021. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach

His comments came as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and British medical regulators acknowledged a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots and low blood platelet counts. The EMA conducted an in-depth review of 86 cases, including 18 deaths.

Most of these occurred in women, but with a total of 169 cases reported to the EMA after 34 million doses were administered, such cases appear to be extremely rare. In comparison, four out of 10,000 women will experience blood clots from using oral contraceptives.

Bogdan did not specify how many cases of blood clots with low blood platelet counts to expect in the normal population, but said the higher prevalence in one population group over the designated time period represented “a very clear risk signal”.

“We looked at how many cases occurred in the community as background events, and compared them with cases observed between four and 16 days after vaccination,” he told an online briefing.

“When you take that into account, then you achieve an observed to expected ratio … 20 (times higher) in women aged between 20 and 59 years,” she said.

The German committee recommended last week that people under 60 who have received one injection of AstraZeneca should get a second dose of another vaccine.

Health experts also said at the briefing, organized by the Science Media Center, that more research is needed to find what can predispose people to clotting with low blood platelet counts, as well as the exact mechanisms that lead to them.

One explanation, cited by members of the German vaccine committee on Wednesday, suggests the AstraZeneca vaccine is associated with the production of an unusual antibody that activates blood platelets and causes rare clots; other researchers are investigating the link to birth control pills.

Andreas Greinacher, a scientist from Germany’s Greifswald University whose team has linked antibodies to the rare clot, said his work showed that neither contraception nor a clotting factor mutation, called Factor V Leiden, played any role.

“Many people fear having one of the underlying prothombotic conditions such as hormonal contraceptive use or having Factor V Leiden, but all of these factors do not modulate the risk of these antibodies,” Greinacher told Reuters. “It’s not a game changer at all.”

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Italy recommends the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine only for those over 60s | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, as vaccination resumes after a brief delay in use due to fears of a possible connection to a blood clot, in Turin, Italy, 19 March 2021. REUTERS / Massimo Pinca / File Photo

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will now recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only to people over 60, the country’s top health adviser said after European regulators discovered a possible link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza took the decision after consulting with experts and “other institutional figures,” Franco Locatelli, head of Italy’s Superior Health Council, told reporters on Wednesday.

Locatelli says people who have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca can continue with the second dose. Officials said the government recommended that the product be avoided for people under 60 but did not prohibit it.

“Anyone who wants to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca can continue to be vaccinated,” said Giovanni Rezza, another member of Italy’s health council at the same press conference.

More than a dozen countries are simultaneously suspending the use of the vaccine, which has been given to tens of millions in Europe.

Most have continued but some, including France, the Netherlands and Germany, have set minimum ages for their use. Locatelli said Spain had also decided to set a minimum age on video calls with other ministers on Wednesday.

Italy initially restricted AstraZeneca to people under 65 because trials showed that it offers less protection against COVID-19 than other vaccines. On March 8, the health ministry said it could also be given to those over the age of 65.

Reporting By Gavin Jones, editing by Angelo Amante

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The UK launches the COVID Moderna vaccine as daily injections slow down | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain started using Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday in Wales just as the launch of another shot fell to its lowest level this year due to a supply crisis caused by manufacturing problems at AstraZeneca.

Britain has surged ahead of other European nations in the race to vaccinate its population, with nearly half of its citizens receiving the first dose. But supply problems from the Oxford-AstraZeneca main shot have slowed progress in recent days.

Britain distributed nearly 96,000 shots on Sunday and more than 105,000 on Monday, the lowest figure since the government began publishing daily figures in January.

It has been warned that the rollout will slow down in April due to AstraZeneca manufacturing problems, including at a site in India.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would not go into detail on supply and delivery schedules, but said the country remains on track to give all adults the first dose by the end of July.

That launch will now be supported by additional Moderna fire. Already used in the United States and other parts of Europe, it is the third vaccine used in the UK after AstraZeneca and one from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Elle Taylor, 24, said she was delighted to be the first person in England to receive a Moderna injection in Carmarthen, Wales.

“I am my grandmother’s unpaid caregiver so it is very important that I get her, so that I can care for her properly and safely,” he told reporters.

Johnson welcomed the arrival. “We have ordered 17 million doses to be delivered across the UK in the coming weeks,” he said on Twitter.

“Please get your answer as soon as you are contacted.”

Moderna uses the same mRNA technology as Pfizer injections but can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures unlike its rival vaccine from the US, which must be stored and shipped at very low temperatures.

The shot is expected to be used throughout Great Britain by mid-April.

The UK has vaccinated 31.6 million people with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – and administered 5.5 million the second. In recent weeks, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have all decreased.

Israel is the world leader in vaccinating its population against COVID-19, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Chile, United Kingdom, United States, Bahrain, Serbia and Hungary, according to Our World in Data.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas; Edited by William Schomberg and Mark Potter

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