Australia Backs AstraZeneca Vaccine as Blood Clots Probed
Australia won’t pause the rollout of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine, even as some European countries temporarily suspend use of the shots while possible blood clots are investigated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that health authorities had not raised any concerns about the vaccine and would continue to monitor developments overseas. Officials spoke with the European Medicines Agency overnight, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Australia began its rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine about three weeks ago, and the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use last month. The nation is set to start domestic production of the shot from late March.
Morrison’s government has downplayed the impact of Italy blocking shipment of some 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, though has raised the issue with the European Commission.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan said earlier this week he was “incredibly disappointed” by Italy’s decision and was planning to work with countries, including Canada, Japan, Norway and New Zealand, to pressure the European Union to deliver shipments as planned, the ABC reported.
“The more we can put collective pressure on them, the more they will realize what they are doing is wrong,” the broadcaster cited him as saying. “I’ll be seeking to make sure they get that message loud and clear.”
Some of the lobbying will be done through a Canadian-led World Trade Organization health group, known as the Ottawa Group, the broadcaster said.
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