Australia reacts to drastic change to COVID-19 vaccine rollout

After a week of dizzying news surrounding Australia’s lagging vaccine rollout, we’ve been hit another blow overnight.

The Prime Minister announced during a snap, late night press conference on Thursday night that Australians under the age of 50 should not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine and instead be offered an alternative where possible.

READ MORE: AstraZeneca vaccine only to be given to over 50s in Australia

The PM said regulators made the decision to offer an alternative following confirmation of a “rare but serious risk” of fatal blood clots.

Chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly said the fatal blood clotting was a “very rare event”.

The change came after a rush review by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) that advises on the vaccine strategy and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The PM said the Pfizer jab is now “the preferred vaccine” for those under 50.

Australia’s COVID-19 rollout is largely dependant on local manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine — and this announcement could be a spanner in the works.

On ABC’s 7.30 program, host Leigh Sales described it as a “huge development given how reliant Australia is on the vaccine.”

In a fiery interview with Sales on Tuesday night, Professor Brendan Murphy said he “rejected” the idea Australia was failing in its COVID-19 vaccination program.

Dr Murphy “completely rejected” Sales’ accusation that the Australian public sees the rollout as “anything other than amateur hour”.

And it seems the response to Thursday nights news is no different. Commentators including Patricia Karvelas described the vaccine strategy as a “bungle”, meanwhile the PM had “failed”, according to some.

Here’s the talk online.

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