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Australia ditches vaccine roll-out targets

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has scrapped the country’s coronavirus vaccine roll-out targets, days after medical experts changed their advice on using the AstraZeneca jab.

The country had originally pledged to vaccinate its entire adult population by October but has seen a sluggish start to its vaccine drive.

Morrison said it was not possible to set targets for administering first doses to all Australians before the end of the year “given the many uncertainties involved.

“The government has also not set, nor has any plans to set any new targets for completing first doses,” he wrote.

Australian experts changed their advice last week and recommended using the Pfizer vaccine for adults under 50 rather than AstraZeneca.

There have been global concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine after some isolated cases of very rare blood clots in those who received it.

The country of around 25 million people has fallen far short of its initial target to administer four million jabs by the end of March and only managed to give just under 842,000 doses in that time frame.

Government data shows some 1.16 million doses had been given as of Saturday.

The country has fared well in stemming the coronavirus outbreak compared to many other nations, with some 29,000 cases and 900 deaths recorded since the pandemic began. (dpa/NAN)

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