Australia said on Tuesday (April 13) a second person had been diagnosed with a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine but there had been no rise in inoculation cancellations as the authorities try to steady a bungled immunisation campaign.
This week, Australia abandoned a goal of vaccinating all of its nearly 26 million population by the year end, after Europe’s drug regulator reported rare cases of blood clots among some adult recipients of AstraZeneca doses, suggesting a link. This prompted Australian officials to recommend that those younger than 50 receive the Pfizer vaccine in preference to AstraZeneca’s shot, throwing the vaccination programme into disarray.
“We had anticipated potentially a significant drop (in vaccination numbers, but that is) not what we have seen at this stage,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Canberra.
The authorities meanwhile said they have no plans to add Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine to its immunisation drive, as Australia wanted to move away from procuring vaccines that were under review for potential links to blood clots.
The Covid-19 vaccines of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca use an adenovirus, a harmless class of common-cold viruses, to introduce coronavirus proteins into cells in the body and trigger an immune response.
Both products are under review by Europe’s drug regulator after it found possible links with blood clots, although it has said the advantages still outweighed the risks