Gina Rinehart mocked over jokes book full of boomer memes


Australia’s wealthiest woman has raised eyebrows online after releasing a book of jokes full of ‘boomer’ memes.

Mining magnate and billionairess Gina Rinehart’s new publication of “jokes, quotes and cartoons” was originally gathered for friends in hospital and was launched on Thursday to “bring joy to those doing it tough”.

Former politician Bronwyn Bishop, Senator Matt Canavan and Sam Bjelke-Petersen – the grandson of Queensland’s longest serving Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen – were among the guests at the star-studded Zoom launch across 12 locations on Thursday.

All profits from the book are going to the Cambodian Children’s Fund, Shine Awards, the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service and the Country Women’s Association.

Social media users have made fun of the book, with some pointing out many of the jokes appear to have originated from ‘Boomer’ Facebook groups.

Others questioned whether it was an elaborate April fools’ prank.

Pages of the book show a number of memes, stories and some cartoons from the Australian newspaper.

One of the jokes, picked at the launch by Ms Bishop, read: “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

It’s not the first time Ms Rinehart has courted controversy with her publications.

In 2012, she composed a poem attacking the Labor Federal Government over its lack of support for the resources industry.

The poem was engraved on a 30-ton iron ore boulder in the Western Australian town of Morley.

In 2019, she published an outback cookbook titled Things We Love, a collection of short stories and recipes from station and farm managers across Ms Rinehart’s Hancock and Kidman pastoral properties across Australia.



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Michelle Landry, Matt Canavan ‘support’ male staffer


A female member of the Morrison government has said she “feels bad” for a male staffer who was sacked for performing a lewd sex act in Parliament House, prompting an outrage on social media.

The Liberal staffer was fired on Monday after filming himself performing the solo act on the desk of a female MP in shocking revelations aired by Channel 10.

The footage was reportedly shared with a group of Coalition staffers who filmed themselves committing indecent acts inside Parliament House.

On Monday morning, Assistant Minister for Children and Families Michelle Landry said the “young fellow” at the centre of the claims was a “good worker” who “loved the place”.

“I feel bad for him about this,” she said.

“But it’s unacceptable behaviour by anyone and it should not happen in workplaces like this.”

Labor senator Kristina Keneally gave a fiery response during a press conference.

“How about feeling bad for the cleaners who had to come in and clean up after that disgusting mess?” she said.

“How about feeling bad for a female MP whose desk was disrespected?”

Nationals senator Matt Canavan said there “must be consequences” for anyone involved but said the men needed support.

“They have made shocking mistakes that they will pay a heavy price for, but I don’t want to see them ostracised or banished from society,” he told Sky News.

“They need to be supported, too, and hopefully learn from their mistakes and get on with their lives.”

Twitter users were quick to slam both Ms Landry and Mr Canavan’s response.

One user asked why Mr Canavan wouldn’t condemn this “appalling behaviour”.

“What would Matt say if it was his wife or daughter?” another asked.

“His response is as sick as hers! Tells you a lot about each person,” another Twitter user said.

“LOL, is there any reason why you wouldn’t condemn the person as a human being?” one said.

Liberal Industry Minister Karen Andrews said she’d had a “gutful” of disrespect and poor treatment of women in parliament and other workplaces.

“Continuing the way we have, to attract women, has clearly not been anywhere near as successful as it needs to be,” she told ABC.

Meanwhile, other MPs have been quick to call on politicians and staffers committing lewd acts within Parliament House to be outed to clean up the building’s “toxic” culture.



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Nationals Senator Matt Canavan speaks out about COVID-19 vaccines


Outspoken Nationals senator Matt Canavan has warned about a growing “culture of suppression” towards people who have opposing views about COVID-19 vaccines.

Senator Canavan’s calls are likely to get more noses out of joint after he urged the Coalition government this week to halt the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout after blood-clotting concerns in Europe.

The European Medicines Agency announced on Friday the vaccine was “safe and effective”, prompting several nations to kickstart their immunisation plans.

But Senator Canavan told Sky News the vaccine still posed risks.

“This climate of suppression of any other alternative views is turning (vaccines) into a quasi-mandatory requirement to be a member of polite society,” Senator Canavan said.

“A few days’ pause here would not have made any difference to our rollout in the scheme of things.

“But it would have helped build confidence, I think, that authorities are taking concerns seriously.”

RELATED: AstraZeneca jab given ‘green light’

Australian health experts resisted pressure this week to join a host of European nations that paused their vaccine rollouts while reports of blood clotting were investigated.

Chief medical officer Paul Kelly reiterated on Wednesday he had “no concerns” about the AstraZeneca vaccine or the issue of blood clots.

“The European Medical Agency head said the same thing as the World Health Organisation and the UK regulator, the TGA here in Australia, myself and many other experts in these matters,” Professor Kelly said.

“Things will happen because they happen. It doesn’t mean that they’re related to the vaccine.”

The European drug regulator said it could not definitively rule out a link between the blood clots and the vaccines after its investigation.

Newly independent MP Craig Kelly joined Senator Canavan in calling for the government to pause immunisations.

This is despite being reprimanded by Scott Morrison in February, after months of spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories that contradicted government medical advice.

In a statement at the time, Mr Kelly said the Prime Minister reinforced the “importance if ensuring public confidence” in the government’s vaccine strategy.

He agreed to support the government’s vaccine rollout, which he said had been endorsed by medical experts.



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Clubs should get funding Labor says


Grassroots sporting clubs that missed out on much-needed grants in the infamous sports rorts scandal should now be awarded the money, according to Labor.The federal opposition has reignited calls for the Morrison government to fund all the projects given a tick of merit from Sport Australia. Opposition sport spokesman Don Farrell said the move would help rebuild sporting clubs’ trust in future grants programs that was tarnished following a probe that uncovered pork-barrelling of tens of millions of dollars in marginal Coalition seats.

“The government can start the job of restoring the faith of Australians in these projects … by coming out now and accepting the proposition that we have put forward,” Senator Farrell said on Friday.

“Fund all of the projects that Sport Australia said should have been funded in the first place.”

Senator Farrell said the government was funnelling a lot of money into infrastructure programs to stimulate the economy while sporting facility upgrades were shovel-ready.

“They’re right there, ready to go tomorrow because these clubs have been left in the lurch by the decision of the government to give the grants to their favoured mates,” he said.

“We’re about to come up to another budget. These are deserving projects … they particularly benefit women’s sporting community clubs around Australia.”

A Senate committee on Thursday handed down a scathing final report into the administration of the sports grants program.

The Labor-stacked inquiry made nine recommendations, including funding all the meritorious applications and Sport Australia improving its communication with all applicants to ensure clear and timely reasons for decisions are provided.

Senator Farrell also called on the government to release top public servant Phil Gaetjens’ review of the scandal as well as documents such as the infamous colour-coded excel spreadsheet.

“I just have a hunch that what went on in the sports rorts program may well be going on in other projects,” Senator Farrell said.

But Liberal senator Eric Abetz and Nationals senator Matt Canavan said the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program administered by Senator Bridget McKenzie – who was forced to resign – was an “outstanding success”.

In a minority report, the pair said the inquiry was a “highly politicised and weaponised exercise” and the hearings were a charade.



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AstraZeneca vaccine ‘safe’ says EU regulator, despite blood clot fears


Europe’s drug regulator has declared the AstraZeneca vaccine “safe and effective” after multiple countries paused the COVID-19 shots over fears it was having alarming side effects.

More than a dozen countries suspended their rollouts of the vaccine over concerns it could increase the risk of blood clots and may have been linked to some deaths in Spain and France.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has now shared the results of its investigation, saying the shot was not linked to an increased risk of blood clots or thromboembolic events.

The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion: this is a safe and effective vaccine,” EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke told an online press conference.

“Its benefits in protecting people from COVID-19 with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation outweigh the possible risk.

“If it was me I would be vaccinated tomorrow.”

RELATED: Leader threatens to seize vaccine factories

RELATED: 19 Aussies suffer vaccine reactions

However, the organisation said it could not rule out a possible connection to a particularly rare type of blood disorder and further investigation was needed.

It was particularly looking at cases of cerebral venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the vessels draining blood from the brain.

“During the investigation and review we began to see a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious clotting disorder and this then triggered a more focused review,” said Cooke.

“Based on the evidence available, and after days of in-depth analysis of lab results, clinical reports, autopsy reports and further information from the clinical trials, we still cannot rule out definitively a link between these cases and the vaccine.”

The EMA had recommended adding a warning to product information with the AstraZeneca shot.

This would draw attention to the “possible rare conditions” to help patients and healthcare professionals “stop and mitigate any possible side effects,” said Cooke.

There had been 469 reports of blood clotting among 20 million people who had been vaccinated in the European Economic Area.

Following these reports, multiple countries stopped the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with Germany, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, France and Spain just some of the nations to do so.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it was “good news” the AstraZeneca vaccine had been given the green light by European regulators.

“Here in Australia we’ll be relying on the AstraZeneca vaccine, also the Pfizer vaccine but the fact that we’ll be making the AstraZeneca convenience here under licence of CSL gives us a big edge because we have a manufacturing capability that so many other countries don’t have,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

Mr Frydenberg said some doses of the vaccine have already been distributed to GP clinics across the country, with more expected in the coming weeks.

AstraZeneca is the COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered to the majority of Aussies, with the situation overseas sparking calls from some of our own government officials to pause the rollout here.

Earlier this week, Queensland Senator Matt Canavan said he didn’t understand how the rollout of the vaccine could continue when “basically the whole of Europe is worried” about it.

“I don’t think all the capitals in Europe have been taken over by anti-vaccine zealots, there is obviously legitimate concerns here,” he said.

However, the Prime Minister and Australian health authorities insisted they were confident in the safety of the vaccine.

Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said he was “confident” the clotting reported in Europe was “not a significant issue”.

“All the evidence we have seen suggests there is no increase above what you would expect in the population, in the vaccinated population,” he said.

“We have not seen any issues to suggest there is any higher increase of stroke.”

Therapeutic Goods Administration head Professor John Skerritt said 17,000 Australians suffered blood clots every year, and it was important to differentiate between “bad luck” and the “natural frequency of these things happening”.

“We are waiting to see if there is any further information, but at this stage we do not believe there is conclusive evidence for cause-and-effect on the clotting issue,” he said.

– With AFP



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Watch for headache, bruising symptoms


People should seek medical help if they suffer a lingering headache or experience bruising up to four days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, UK officials have advised.

The warning from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) comes as concern grows over potential blood clotting issues with the jab, which is currently one of two being rolled out in Australia.

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine told a Downing Street press conference on Thursday night that headache or severe bruising could be sign of a rare blood clot.

There have been five reports in the UK of cerebral sinus venous thrombosis (CSVT) shortly after the patient received the AstraZeneca shot.

“This type of blood clot can rarely occur naturally in unvaccinated people as well as in people with COVID-19,” Dr Raine said.

“A causal relationship with the vaccine has not yet been established and that the rate of occurrence of these CSVT events among the 11 million vaccinated is extremely rare.”

But Dr Raine said as a precaution, the MHRA advised “anyone with a headache that lasts more than four days after vaccination or bruising beyond the site of vaccination after a few days to seek medical attention”.

Dr Phil Bryan, the MHRA vaccine safety lead, earlier said there was less than “one in a million” chance of suffering this type of blood clot based on the number of doses administered in the country, The Sun reported.

The comments came as the European Medicines Agency, Europe’s top drug regulator, confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe for use after some 20 countries including France, Germany and Italy suspended the rollout following a handful of deaths and hospitalisations related to blood clots.

EMA executive director Emer Cooke said the regulator was keenly aware that a number of EU member states had paused vaccinations and were waiting for the outcome of the EMA’s review – and that she would get the jab “tomorrow” if offered.

“Its benefits in protecting people from COVID-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks,” she said.

“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots.”

Ms Cooke said given “thousands of people in the EU die every day – in fact over 2500 were reported one day last week – it really was crucial for EMA to review rapidly and thoroughly all the available evidence, so we made this review our highest priority”.

“We are delivering on that promise today and our responsibility is to come to a conclusion as to whether the benefits outweigh the risks of the vaccines so that countries can make an uniformed decision and increase trust in the vaccine,” she said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news on Thursday night. “They’ve confirmed that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID far outweigh any risks,” he said.

“The Oxford jab is safe, the Pfizer jab is safe, the thing that isn’t safe is catching COVID. I‘m getting mine tomorrow. Get that jab when your turn comes. Let’s get the jab done.”

Earlier this week, health authorities in Australia said they would delay giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who are sensitive to anaphylactic responses after four Queensland recipients had alarming allergic reactions to the jab in the last 48 hours.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there would now be “precautionary measures” to advise those who are anaphylactic to delay getting the jab while those who proceed to get the vaccine who suffer from these conditions will be observed in hospitals afterwards.

“I want to reassure people that we have absolute confidence in our vaccines in Australia, as the Therapeutic Goods Administration has said all along, that there is a risk category there in relation to people who have allergic reactions,” she told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“We expected this, we are prepared for this but we do want to make sure because we are seeing a number of people react to the AstraZeneca that we are letting people know about that and monitoring them for a longer period to make sure that everyone is safe.”

That came after the nation’s chief medical officer attempted to hose down fears over the jab, saying there was “no evidence” it was linked to blood clotting.

Paul Kelly said on Tuesday that “unusual events” were expected in any major vaccine rollout, and that blood clots were “fairly common” with 17,000 reported in Australia annually – but Professor Kelly stressed authorities would “take it seriously … (and) investigate”.

“We do expect to see blood clots at the time when we when vaccinations are given,” he said.

“But this does not mean that an event that happens after vaccination has been given is indeed due to that vaccine. From my perspective, I do not see that there is any specific link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, and I’m not alone in that opinion.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt has said the government “clearly and unequivocally” continued to support the AstraZeneca rollout.

“The TGA does not have any evidence of a biologically plausible relationship that could suggest a cause and effect relationship during vaccination and blood clots,” he told parliament.

Independent MP Craig Kelly and Nationals Senator Matt Canavan have this week both called for the AstraZeneca rollout to be paused in Australia.

“I don’t think all the capitals of Europe have been overtaken by anti-vaccine zealots. There is obviously legitimate concerns here,” Mr Canavan told Sky News on Tuesday.

“Given that we are a country where there is not really an imminent threat of coronavirus, I just don’t see how the risk of the vaccine outweighs, or is better than, suspending right now.”

frank.chung@news.com.au

– with NCA NewsWire



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Four reactions to AstraZeneca vaccine in Queensland leads to new warning


Health authorities will delay providing the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who are sensitive to anaphylactic responses after four Queensland recipients had alarming allergic reactions to the jab in the last 48 hours.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there will now be “precautionary measures” to advise those who are anaphylactic to delay getting the jab while those who proceed to get the vaccine who suffer from these conditions will be observed in hospitals afterwards.

“I want to reassure people that we have absolute confidence in our vaccines in Australia, as the Therapeutic Goods Administration has said all along, that there is a risk category there in relation to people who have allergic reactions,” she told reporters on Wednesday morning.

RELATED: Questions raised over AstraZeneca vaccine

“We expected this, we are prepared for this but we do want to make sure because we are seeing a number of people react to the AstraZeneca that we are letting people know about that and monitoring them for a longer period to make sure that everyone is safe.”

The four cases to suffer the alarming response were shared between Ipswich, Toowoomba and Bundaberg, with all having a history of severe allergic reactions, according to Director-General Dr John Wakefield, and follows a number of European countries pausing the vaccine during an investigation into the safety of the jab.

“Our current policy and the national TGA policy on this is that it is fine for people to have the vaccination unless they have a history of anaphylaxis to products that are in the vaccine itself, so some of the components of the vaccine,” he said.

“That is the national guidance and I would remind everybody that there has been millions of doses. Millions of doses of AstraZeneca around the world, safely used. I will be getting my own when it’s my turn.”

The nation’s chief health officers were in Canberra on Wednesday for a scheduled meeting about the virus and the vaccine rollout, where the issue of the reactions will also be discussed.

A recipient also had an allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine earlier in the rollout.

“The right thing for us to do is preserve the trust of Queenslanders and just add that extra blanket of safety, so it is nothing that anybody needs to have serious concerns about,” Dr Wakefield said.

“We are just making sure that we are cautious.”

The director-general said this jump in reactions comes after four weeks of vaccines being administered, following 10 million jabs provided in the United Kingdom.

“We expect with vaccinations that a small number of people, it is fairly rare but a small number of people will get anaphylaxis,” Dr Wakefield said. “That is not a surprise. We report them and treat them and so on.

“The thing about this vaccination program is, nationally, if you are having the flu vaccine or any other type of vaccine and you have anaphylaxis, it is treated and you will never hear about it. Because there is so much focus on this, appropriately, on this vaccination, you are hearing about every single case that arises.

“So yes, we have had an anaphylaxis with Pfizer and we expect to get more.”

The scare in the Sunshine State comes after a number of European nations suspended vaccination programs due to concerns over potential blood clotting issues with the AstraZeneca jab.

Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Italy paused the administering of the vaccine, while Italy and France have since resumed the rollout.

The abrupt decision came after Austria reported serious adverse effects in two cases, including a 49-year-old nurse who died of severe blood coagulation 10 days after receiving the shot.

A 60-year-old woman in Denmark also died after developing a blood clot, and there are also reports of a death and three hospitalisations relating to blood clots in Norway.

The pausing of the jab in Europe has led to Nationals Senator Matt Canavan calling on the Australian program to also be suspended and for an investigation to take place.

“I don’t think all the capitals of Europe have been overtaken by anti-vaccine zealots. There are obviously legitimate concerns here,” he told Sky News.

“Given that we are a country where there is not really an imminent threat of coronavirus, I just don’t see how the risk of the vaccine outweighs, or is better than, suspending right now.”

“I just don’t think we can close our eyes to this evidence. The end goal has to be the health and safety of Australians.”

The Sunshine State recorded zero new locally acquired cases on Wednesday but six were detected among overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.



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Why Europe suspended vaccine and how Australia has responded


When Australia’s coronavirus vaccine roll out kicked off last month, many believed there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the hotly-anticipated initiative has already been marred by fears over the AstraZeneca jab’s safety after a string of European nations suspended their own vaccination programs due to concerns over potential blood clotting issues.

That has sparked renewed worry Down Under, prompting calls from some camps for Australia to also hit pause while the matter is investigated.

RELATED: Brisbane lockdowns to continue

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

The issue came to a head this week after a slew of European countries, including Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, halted their roll outs of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The abrupt decision came after Austria reported serious adverse effects in two cases, including a 49-year-old nurse who died of severe blood coagulation 10 days after receiving the shot.

A 60-year-old woman in Denmark also died after developing a blood clot, and there are also reports of a death and three hospitalisations relating to blood clots in Norway.

WHAT’S EUROPE DOING?

So far, the roll out pauses across Europe are temporary and there is no indication the vaccination program will be abandoned altogether.

Some nations such as Italy and Romania have banned certain batches of the vaccine linked to the Austrian case, but at the moment governments have vowed the wider campaign will proceed as scheduled.

Authorities are currently investigating any potential links between the jab and adverse effects, and will provide updates as soon as possible.

POLITICAL STRIFE

However, the unfolding situation has already caused some political tension in Australia.

On Tuesday, outspoken Nationals senator Matt Canavan called for the Australian roll out to be paused alongside much of Europe, and that the “serious concerns” raised must be looked into.

“I don’t think all the capitals of Europe have been overtaken by anti-vaccine zealots. There is obviously legitimate concerns here,” he told Sky News.

“Given that we are a country where there is not really an imminent threat of coronavirus, I just don’t see how the risk of the vaccine outweighs, or is better than, suspending right now.”

“I just don’t think we can close our eyes to this evidence. The end goal has to be the health and safety of Australians.”

RELATED: Looming COVID crisis on our doorstep

But many other senior politicians insisted the vaccine is safe and the program would continue as planned, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg repeating the World Health Organisation’s stance that there was “no evidence” the AstraZeneca vaccine had caused the blood clots.

“In the case of the United Kingdom, they have already distributed more than 12 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and they haven’t seen those trends or patterns across their community,” he told ABC RN on Tuesday.

“It is still the government’s intention to roll it out, as we’ve said.”

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly also dismissed Mr Canavan’s concerns, telling reporters this afternoon that: “There is no signal … of a link between AstraZeneca and blood clots.”

SHOULD WE BE WORRIED?

As the war of words continues, how concerned should ordinary Australians really be by the latest developments?

Firstly, it’s important to note the European Medicines Agency last week insisted there was “no indication” the clots were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, with Australian health authorities also maintaining the jab is safe.

That was echoed by the drug maker itself, which claimed there was no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots and other “thromboembolic” events among 17 million individuals who had already received the shot in the UK and the Eurpean Union.

And the World Health Organisation has also weighed in, with WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris saying no causal link had been established between the “excellent” shot and the blood clot cases that have emerged.

“It’s very important to understand that, yes, we should continue to be using the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Ms Harris said.

In an article penned for The Conversation, Australian health experts Nigel William Crawford, Hazel Clothier and Jim Buttery wrote that there would always be some who experienced a thromboembolic event at some point in their lives, but insisted that so-called “background rate” wasn’t necessarily tied to any particular factor, including a vaccine.

“Unfortunately, about 17,000 Australians suffer a thromboembolic event each year,” they wrote.

“So when vaccinating many millions of people, we expect a very small number of them to develop a blood clot that coincidentally occurs not long after they’ve received a vaccine.

“This doesn’t mean it was caused by the vaccine.”

That sentiment was echoed by Swinburne University’s dean and professor School of Health Sciences Bruce Thompson, who is also the president of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.

RELATED: How the vaccine will change our lives

“As of today in excess of 350 million vaccine doses have been given around the world. For those who have received the vaccine, there have been no deaths or hospitalisations due to COVID,” Prof Thompson said in a statement.

“There has been a hunch that of the people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, a few subsequently developed blood clots either as a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] or in their lungs. “At this stage, there is no evidence at all that these are associated with being vaccinated. To stop a vaccination based on a hunch will lead to an increase in COVID deaths.”

And Paul Griffin, the director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health Services and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland said he believed the situation in Europe was an “over-reaction”.

“While this is perhaps how these countries prefer to respond, we should make sure we don’t overreact in our country and that we continue to make evidence-based decisions based on the available data at hand,” he said.

“This vaccine has proven very safe and effective in large clinical trials.

“In fact in clinical trials now exceeding 60,000 participants, some of these events were observed in low numbers but there were actually fewer in the vaccinated group than in those that had not received the vaccine.”

So far, there have been no reports of blood clots among those who have already received their first vaccine dose in Australia.



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Mark Butler slams Scott Morrison over Matt Canavan comments


Australia’s vaccine rollout is “fast becoming a complete mess” and the government remains divided over fundamental information, Labor’s health spokesman says.

The rollout continued to lag well behind initial estimates from the government, which aimed to have 4 million Australians vaccinated by early April.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a joint party room meeting on Tuesday the “most significant issue” facing the government was vaccine supply, which had been restricted by blockages in Europe.

But Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr Karen Price said the COVID-19 vaccination booking system was yet to launch, telling The Guardian “receptionists are already getting overwhelmed with calls”.

RELATED: Kelly pushes to suspend AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

Labor health spokesman Mark Butler accused the government of failing to create adequate infrastructure to facilitate the rollout.

“This vaccine rollout is fast becoming a complete mess,” he said.

“It is way behind schedule, and the systems that we need in place are remarkably still being built.”

He said the government had shifted the goalposts on its vaccine targets.

“The prime minister promised that 4 million vaccines would have been delivered by the end of this month, a target that they long ago decided to slip into April, then into the end of April, and have now dropped altogether,” he said.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan called on the government to halt the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab, after several European nations suspended the jab over fears of blood clotting.

That call was joined by MP Craig Kelly, who quit the Liberal Party in February partly in order to promote theories that contradict official government advice.

Nationals leader Michael McCormack conceded he wished Mr Canavan had not expressed that view, but said he had not spoken to his backbencher.

“They don’t represent my views or those of the government … (but) we’re a broad church and I understand he’s got some concerns,” he said.

Mr Morrison urged Australians to look to official advice for their COVID-19 information.

“I think it’s incumbent on all of us here in this place to be supporting that vaccination program,” he told Question Time.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government “clearly, unequivocally” supported the AstraZeneca rollout.

But Mr Butler lashed senior government members for failing to slap down Mr Canavan’s “deeply irresponsible” intervention.

“This morning we’ve again seen divisions within the Coalition about the fundamentals of this vaccine rollout,” he said.

“Senator Canavan has made some deeply irresponsible comments that directly undermine the authority and the integrity of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, one of the best regulators of medicines and other therapeutic classes in the world.”



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