New South Wales reworks Covid-19 vaccine plan on AstraZeneca concerns

About 1.2 million people in the nation of 25.8 million have received a first vaccine dose. PHOTO: AFP

NEW SOUTH WALES (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Australia will continue its review of coronavirus vaccines after a 48-year-old woman's death was likely linked to the inoculation, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Saturday (April 17).

On Friday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood clots in a recipient of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 shot. It was the third case of the rare blood clots appearing in people who have been administered the vaccine in the country.

"The government will ask Atagi (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) to ensure continuous review of all of the vaccines in terms of their safety and their efficacy," Hunt said at a televised briefing.

The strategy in New South Wales is under review ahead of Monday's national Cabinet meeting, which is also likely to address the future of the roll-out of AstraZeneca shots for people over 50 years of age, the paper said.

The federal government faces continued criticism over delays in the country's roll-out, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week declining to set a new target date for all Australians to receive their first shot. About 1.2 million people in the nation of 25.8 million have received a first vaccine dose.

There had been at least 885,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines administered in Australia so far, equating to a frequency of instance of blood clot in every 295,000 cases, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said earlier this week.

Mr Hunt also said that a decision on whether to prioritise athletes and support staff in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out with the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching will be taken in the coming week.

"We shall want to see our Olympians get to the Olympics and we want to see that they are safe," he said.

The NSW government reported no new locally-acquired cases of Covid-19 in the 24 hours, and seven new cases among those arriving into the country, bringing total infections in the state since the beginning of the pandemic to 5,181.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.