Scott Morrison is imploring Australians aged over 50 to keep getting the AstraZeneca vaccine – declaring his own mother is already booked in to get her jab.
The government also wants Pfizer to speed up the distribution of its vaccine across the nation after it was revealed by health experts AstraZeneca has been linked to a risk of blood clotting for people under 50.
‘My mum is getting it (shot) in a couple of weeks,’ the prime minister said.
‘She told me she is booked in and she is looking forward to having her AstraZeneca vaccine… she was pretty happy for me to tell people about that.’
Scott Morrison is imploring Australians aged over 50 to keep getting the AstraZeneca vaccine – before declaring his own mother is already booked in to get her jab
Health experts have recommended not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 because of possible blood clot side effect (stock image)
Mr Morrison said for those over 50, there was ‘strong encouragement to be taking this AstraZeneca vaccine which we discussed today to ensure that we can continue down the path of the vaccination rollout’.
‘The goal here is to protect the most vulnerable in our community, If we want to treat Covid-19 like the flu then we need to ensure that we’re vaccinating those in our community who are most vulnerable,’ he said.
Mr Morrison said an additional 20 million Pfizer doses will be readily available by September.
‘We will obviously be doing everything we can to seek to move that forward where we can but that is very welcome news,’ he said.
The government has secured contracts for 170 million vaccine doses, which include 53.8 million of AstraZeneca.
With the Morrison Government attracting criticism over the slowness of the vaccine rollout, figures released on Friday revealed 1.08 million doses have been successfully administered.
In a state by state breakdown, NSW is leading the way with 146,724 vaccines, fractionally more than Victoria (137,320).
After health supremos recommended not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 because of possible blood clots, the domino effect will see the immunisation program unlikely to be completed until next year.
The domino effect after health experts declared AstraZeneca could result in blood clots for those aged under 50 will slow down the immunisation program in Australia (stock image)
This is well behind the Morrison government’s forecasted October 2020 target.
Mr Morrison refused to confirm whether all Australians would be offered at least one dose by Christmas.
‘We are not in a position at the moment to reconfirm a timetable,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
The latest delay is likely to have major implications for ongoing restrictions – including international travel and social distancing measures.
Just 870,000 doses of the initial 20 million Pfizer jabs have arrived in the country since February.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said supply rates would be stepped up significantly in coming months, but declined to reveal exact numbers.
‘With regards to phase 1B, this is the over 70s and the over 80s and the over 55 Indigenous Australians, all of those can continue to receive with the strongest medical advice the AstraZeneca,’ he said.
‘For those who may be immunocompromised or frontline workers who are under 50, then right now we are working with the states and territories and the medical authorities to revise that part of the program so as they have access to Pfizer. That will take time.’
Labor has lambasted the government for failing to secure more deals, with other vaccines successfully being rolled out to millions of people worldwide.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese described the rollout as a ‘debacle’ and demanded certainty about when Australians would be vaccinated.
‘This government has failed. This government couldn’t run a choko vine up a back fence,’ he told reporters in Sydney.
The government’s immunisation experts made the cautious call on AstraZeneca after blood clots mostly in younger people were linked to the vaccine.
The reaction has appeared in four to six people for every million to receive the jab, with a 25 per cent death rate for people who develop the syndrome.
A man in his 40s who was admitted to hospital in Melbourne is the only person in Australia to develop the problem so far.