Delay AstraZeneca Vaccine Rollout: Australian Health Experts
Canberra should seek Pfizer and Moderna vaccines since they showed higher levels of efficacy, they said.
A group of Australian scientists has raised concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, stating that the vaccine is not effective enough to generate herd immunity, reported Financial Times.
Canberra should seek the vaccines developed by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna since they showed higher levels of efficacy against COVID-19, several immunologists, including a member of the opposition Labor Party, said on Wednesday, 13 January.
However, Canberra has rejected the proposal.
Andrew Miller, President of the Australian Medical Association in Western Australia, said that there is a political risk that the rich will get a good vaccine whereas the poor will get a not so good one.
“Until we get more data that shows that AstraZeneca is as good as the others, the scientific and medical risk that you take is that you won’t get herd immunity,” he was quoted as saying by Financial Times.
The team believes that since Australia has managed to control the spread of the virus, it can wait for a month and in the meantime source the best vaccine.
The government on the other hand said that there will be no policy U-turn since it continues to maintain that Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can provide effective protection against SARS-CoV-2.
Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer, told Financial Times that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective, safe and of high-quality.
“It will be available as soon as the TGA gives its tick, which we expect will be in February,” he said.
This comes after Australia suffered a major blow during its homegrown vaccine trials last month. Trials conducted by the University of Queensland and CSL had volunteers who returned false positives for HIV.
The country then secured a deal of A$3.3bn (US$2.6bn) with AstraZeneca as a contingency plan.
(With inputs from Financial Times)
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