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Australian State Government Defends Vaccine Order Cuts

Queensland’s government has defended cutting AstraZeneca vaccine orders, saying they're unsuitable for younger health workers.

BRISBANE, Australia — The North-eastern Australian state of Queensland’s government says it’s taking smaller Covid-19 vaccine deliveries because more supplies are going directly to General Practitioners.

The state received 41,160 doses in the week ending April 25 and 24,570 doses the following week.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says the drop occurred because AstraZeneca doses, unsuitable for younger health workers, were returned to the federal government.

Official health advice is that Australians under the age of 50 should get the Pfizer vaccine over the AstraZeneca jab.

A nurse holds up a syringe containing the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

“So that’s why we saw a significant reduction,” D’Ath said on May 14.

“You will see a total reduction in our vaccines going forward because we are not getting AstraZeneca supplied to us over the next two weeks.”

She said a deal has been struck with the Commonwealth for AstraZeneca doses to be sent directly to Queensland GPs for the wider rollout.

“No less AstraZeneca is coming into Queensland for Queenslanders,” D’Ath said.

“It is coming in, it’s now going directly to GPs, instead of coming to the state government.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said while Queensland Health was receiving fewer doses, the wider state will continue to receive 20 percent of the federal government’s total vaccine supplies.

“We’ve been getting our fair share, every step along the way, we’ve been getting our population share of 20 percent of the vaccines,” she said.

“I’ve had no concern about that.

A locally manufactured AstraZeneca covid19 vaccination vile. (James Ross/AAP Image)

“It’s just till now, there hasn’t been enough to get the amount we would all like to get, but that’s true for every single state and territory, and the Commonwealth is sending it out as quickly as they can.”

The vaccine rollout will restart in the Torres Strait on May 17 more than a month after it was paused on April 16.

The state government halted the vaccine drive there amid concerns about giving the region’s younger population the AstraZeneca vaccine.

However, supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived and the rollout will continue.

Queensland reported no new cases of coronavirus in the state in the past 24 hours. The previously confirmed case of Covid-19 was on May 11 in Victoria.

“A man in his 30s has recently tested positive in Victoria after completing 14 days quarantine in a South Australian hotel. We are also asking all Queenslanders to reconsider travel to Victoria” Queensland health wrote in a statement.

“If you have recently returned from VIC or SA and not visited any listed exposure venues during the risk period, get tested if you have any Covid-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, and isolate until you get the results and your symptoms resolve.”

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)

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