A group of Australian scientists has called on the government to review the COVID-19 vaccination strategy because of concerns that the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is not effective enough to build herd immunity.
Several immunologists and the opposition Labor Party said on Wednesday that Canberra should seek additional equipment for the BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which trials showed to be more effective, as a preventive measure against infections or diseases that could potentially be used. More intense than the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab
Some health experts have also advocated a “stop”; at next month’s release of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Until we get more data showing that AstraZeneca is just as good as everyone else, the scientific and medical risk you take is that you are not getting herd immunity,” said Andrew Miller, president of the Medical Association of Australia. Australia’s Western Australia says, “The political risk is that you’re getting good vaccines for the rich and bad for the poor.”
Dr Miller said Canberra should halt the release of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab and the planned source vaccine with maximum efficacy. As Australia is highly viral, unlike in the UK or the United States, it should wait and provide the best vaccine to build public confidence, he added.
However, the government said the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine would provide critical protection against the virus and had no plans for a policy U-turn.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine is effective, safe and of high quality,” said Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly. [medicine regulator] Gave us a tick, which we expect to be in February “
Australia’s vaccination strategy was devastated last month when applicants developed by the University of Queensland and CSL were abandoned after several trial participants submitted false positives for HIV. Canberra, however, has a contingency plan and agreed a $ 3.3 billion ($ 2.6 billion) deal with pharmaceutical companies for alternative vaccines.
The largest order, Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, has agreed to supply 53 million doses of the vaccine with an average 70 percent efficacy in trials. It has also ordered 10 million BioNTech / Pfizer vaccines, which are more than 90 percent effective and are expected to receive TGA approval next month.
Canberra has agreed to purchase 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, although it was not available until mid-2021.
Some scientists are concerned about Australia’s dependence on Oxford / AstraZeneca, observing experimental data showing that when two full jams are given at least one month apart, their effectiveness is only 62 percent.
“Switching to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines seems like a good idea in a good situation,” said Stephen Turner, president of the Society of Immunology in Australia and New Zealand.
He called for an appropriate review of Canberra’s vaccine strategy. But warned that there was a practical problem in the launch of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine because it had to be stored at minus 70C.The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be stored at 2C to 8C, could be a useful short-term tool for controlling the virus, Mr. Turner said.
The Australasian Association of Virology says it does not support “pauses” in vaccine launches. But all data should be analyzed for safety and efficacy by Australian drug regulators before making a final decision on launching the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
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The Labor party said the government should agree more deals with vaccine makers, noting there were three contracts while five or six other developed countries. But it has not yet called for a temporary halt to the introduction of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
Peter Collingon, a professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, said the call to halt the launch was “unrealistic”. He said it was unlikely the government would provide enough replacement vaccines this year and that it was important. That would require people at high risk to get vaccinated before winter.