Australia to continue using AstraZeneca vaccine despite upheaval in Europe

Many European countries recently banned the vaccine amid reports of serious side-effects

Published: Mar 16, 2021, 08.24 AM(IST)

Australia will not halt the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, country’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday. Many European countries recently banned the vaccine amid reports of serious side-effects.

According to Frydenberg, the European medical regulator, and the World Health Organization (WHO) had both earlier confirmed the efficacy and safety of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

“So we will continue to proceed with the vaccine rollout of AstraZeneca,” Frydenberg told Sky News.

Recently, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Cyprus suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after reports of bleeding, blood clots, and a low platelet count. WHO earlier urged people not to panic, adding that nobody had died from vaccines.

Australia will inoculate a majority of its 25 million people with the AstraZeneca shot. Authorities have secured 54 million doses so far, with 50 million set to be produced locally starting the end of March.

The country kicked off its vaccination drive in February, way behind many other countries, and began using the AstraZeneca vaccine last week. The country has been praised for how it handled the pandemic, with just 909 deaths and 29,100 cases recorded across the nation.

By early April, the Australian government intends to ramp up vaccinations to a million a week, when locally made AstraZeneca vaccines will be rolled out.

AstraZeneca on Sunday claimed that its vaccine has shown no evidence of increased risks of blood clots. The company conducted a review of data among people who received the vaccine to ascertain its safety.

The review took into account 17 million people in the United Kingdom and the European Union, and comes in the middle of many countries suspending use of its vaccines amid concerns of clotting issues.

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