The country’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly said the country would now recommend the Pfizer vaccine over the British-Swedish drug. Despite changing the guidance, Mr Kelly did state those who had received a first shot and not suffered any side effects, could safely have the second. Although Australian experts deemed the risk to be low, Mr Kelly insisted the government made the change to avoid any safety concerns.
This comes despite the UK and EU health agencies found rare cases of blood clots from the vaccine.
It also comes as a blow to Australia’s vaccine programme after the government has only ordered 20 million Pfizer doses.
Despite this, AstraZeneca’s stock price has surged this morning following the announcement that blood clots from the drug are “extremely rare” and at the time of writing was valued at 7.202 on the stock exchange.
This is up 1.45 percent from the close of trading yesterday as the company receives a boost following the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) press conference on Wednesday.
Amid the scepticism over the drug from EU officials, AstraZeneca’s price plummeted over the last six months.
Indeed, due to criticism from EU leaders, the stock price fell to a low of 6,858 on February 27.
On Wednesday, the MHRA revealed blood clots were rare among the nearly 200 million people who have received the jab.
Although an alternative jab will be offered to under-30s, the MHRA claimed the drug was still suitable to be used in the UK.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA said: “The balance of benefits and known risks is still very favourable for the majority of people.
“The public’s safety is at the forefront of our minds.”
“No effective medicine or vaccine is without risk. We continually monitor safety during widespread use of any vaccine.
“This is to ensure vaccines are performing as expected, to identify any new side effects that may arise, and to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.
“The public’s safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we take every report of a suspected side effect very seriously indeed.
“We thoroughly analyse each and every report as we receive it and although the number of reports of CVST and other thromboembolic events has increased over the last week, so has the overall number of vaccinations administered, therefore these blood clots remain extremely rare and unlikely to occur.
“We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.
“It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination when invited to do so.
Indeed, experts have moved to state the decision was based on extreme caution rather than serious safety concerns.
Following the announcement on Wednesday, Matt Hancock moved to reassure the public the UK had enough effective jabs to vaccinate the under-30s.
He also insisted the vaccines are breaking the lines between cases and deaths across the UK.
Mr Hancock said: “The vaccines are safe, and if you want to have the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine instead then that is fine.
“Covid is a horrible disease and long Covid affects people in their 20s just as much it seems as any other age group and can have debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life.”