Australia’s vaccine roll-out is currently behind developing countries like Rwanda and Bangladesh

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​GPs all over Australia are distressed by the country’s slow vaccination roll-out. Since the roll-out began, the operation has been slowed by importation restrictions, floods, and poor delivery. These are in stark contrast to the anticipated problems, like vaccine wastage and lack of willingness to get vaccinated.

One health policy expert aired his concerns, stating that the slow pace was simply “not good enough.” Initial plans projected that 10 million Australians would be vaccinated by the end of March, but it was later revised to a modest 4 million. However, the number currently stagnates at a meagre 500,000.

Professor Bill Bowtel from the University of NSW stated that Australia is currently lagging behind developing countries, despite their economic status. According to estimates, Brazil, China, Mexico, and even Indonesia have all vaccinated more of their citizens.

Bowtel further added, “The doctors, the GPs, the pharmacies, all ready to go, but they are being let down by a failure to commit to targets, to plan and to deliver.” However, the Australian Government is optimistic for future numbers as CSL’s AstraZeneca manufacturing ramps up.

Read: GPs receive a quarter of the requested dosage as vaccine roll-out ramps up

According to Prime Minister Scott Morison, the decision to produce the vaccine at CSL ensures that Australia becomes one of the few countries with a strong domestic supply. He also addressed the delayed deliveries, stating that, “This is really gearing up … the last delivery that was unable to be made because of the floods up in Taree, that was able to get through yesterday.

“Our GPs have played a vital role in this expansion and have not only been vaccinating over the [last] week but [are] continuing to vaccinate on Saturday and Sunday this week.”

Besides the domestic supply, the roll-out is also expected to ramp up as more GP clinics are brought online, with the number rising from 1,100 to more than 4,000.

Read: How Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination roll-out affects GPs

Studies have found a possible cause for the blood clot reactions

Two weeks ago, a 44-year old man presented with blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine at a Melbourne hospital. He suffered low platelet counts, thrombosis and was admitted to a hospital in Melbourne.

All over the world, people have developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. In Britain, 30 different cases were identified, causing several nations like Canada and Spain to limit the vaccine’s use. According to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), “there is not a higher overall rate of relatively common types of blood clots … reported after COVID-19 vaccination.”

However, new evidence has come to light that suggests the vaccine is, in fact, linked to blood clots. A science team from Germany discovered that individuals with post-vaccination clots had developed platelet-activating antibodies. The teams also found that individuals with pre-existing conditions are not more susceptible to the clots, although it’s more common in younger people.

This finding has prompted countries like Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Spain to recommend the vaccine to only people over 60. Meanwhile, Belgium administers it to people over 56, and Britain, to people over 30.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) issued a statement on 8th April noting the possibilities of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), and recommended that the Pfizer vaccine be administered to individuals under 50 years of age. AMA NSW president Dr Danielle McMulen has also advised GPs in the state not to administer the vaccine to younger individuals, except in unique circumstances.

Following this, GPs refused to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to ‘underage’ individuals until the government clarified their legal liability on the matter.

In response, Greg Hunt stated in a press interview that “Australia already has a vaccine indemnity agreement … So no doctor needs worry.” He further added that “these vaccines are safe and effective, and we simply follow the advice on administration from our medical experts.’’

The government may legalise three-parent IVFs

Three-parent IVFs may be the solution for preventing the passage of mitochondria disease from parent to offspring. The process involves two eggs, one from the mother who carries the disease and one from a mother who doesn’t. Three-parent IVFs has already been legalized in the UK, and Australia could be the second country to pass it into law.

According to the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, around 20 children born in Australia each week are at risk of developing a mild form of the disease, with one child developing a severe form.

Read: Podcast Transcript: Regina Cowie - National Health Services Manager at Australian Pharmaceutical Industries

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