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Australian cabinet to meet twice a week over COVID-19 vaccine turmoil

6 Comments
By Renju Jose

Australia's national cabinet will begin meeting twice a week from Monday to help mobilize the country's battle against COVID-19 as authorities consider mass vaccinations to ramp up its coronavirus inoculation efforts.

The federal government and states will discuss setting up mass vaccination centers from as early as June for people above 50, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, when the country would have moved to its next immunization phase.

"We will have AstraZeneca vaccines that we believe we might be able to ramp up the pace of vaccination for those aged between 50 and 70. That's millions of Australians," Morrison told reporters in Perth.

Australia earlier this week abandoned a target to provide at least one vaccine dose to the near 26 million population by year-end after restricting the rollout of its favored AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 over clotting concerns.

Findings by Europe's drug regulator of rare cases of blood clots among some adult recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine were a major blow for Australia as the country had based its immunization drive largely on that inoculation, with plans to manufacture 50 million doses locally.

Australian officials overhauled the program in response, doubling an earlier Pfizer order to 40 million shots, which would be delivered by the end of the year, mostly for its adult population under 50.

Australia created a national cabinet of federal, state and territory leaders early last year to coordinate measures to combat the pandemic.

Morrison said the return to more frequent meetings of the national cabinet was necessary to address "serious challenges" caused by patchy international vaccine supplies and changing medical advice.

The return to twice weekly meetings, the same frequency as at the peak of the crisis in Australia last year, would continue for the "foreseeable future", Morrison said.

Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries during the pandemic, with just over 29,400 COVID-19 cases and 910 deaths.

No new cases have been reported on most days this year and officials have swiftly contained small outbreaks, but the country's vaccination program has hit major roadblocks.

About 1.3 million people have been vaccinated as of Tuesday, far short of the 4 million pledged by end-March, after the European Union blocked AstraZeneca vaccine exports in the wake of the drugmaker's failure to meet shipment pledge to the bloc.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan is due to travel to Europe this week to seek the release of about 3 million doses of previously promised AstraZeneca vaccines for Australia.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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Yeah more vacuous meetings ......

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

the return to more frequent meetings

far short of the 4 million pledged by end-March,

 Meetings, meetings, vaccination program late….

Finally, the same as in Japan

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Meetings, meetings, vaccination program late….Finally, the same as in Japan

Except Australia is recording next to no new cases...unlike Japan, just a tiny difference one could say.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, meetings meetings but hopefully our response is a bit more coordinated than Japan.

Weve been fortunate to have aggressive contact tracing methods as well as stronger public health legislation which has helped our handling of this.

Ganbare Japan

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If A-Z and J&J vaccines are unavailable, the CCP will be happy to provide as many Sinovac vaccines as soon as Australia asks...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Sal

No thanks, there was an article about their efficacy, or lack thereof, last week by one of their health agency director

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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