Australia abandons COVID-19 vaccination targets after new advice on AstraZeneca shots

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A Quebec woman is the first in Canada to develop a blood clot after being vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Canada asked AstraZeneca for a full risk assessment of its vaccine after reports of similar clots in Europe, but says the side effect is extremely rare and the vaccine's benefits still outweigh its risks.

"As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout advances in Canada, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns", messaging from the Canadian government reads.

Australia began vaccinations much later than some other countries due to low COVID-19 case numbers, recording just over 29,400 infections since the pandemic began.

Australia has been reporting zero or low single-digit cases for most days this year helping authorities to ease restrictions and putting the economy into a faster recovery trajectory. It said it is working with the manufacturer, the US Food and Drug Administration and other worldwide regulators to determine the shot's safety as it awaits orders for up to 38 million doses.

So far, more than 19 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while the Australian government says it has given shots to almost 1.18 million people, or 4.5 per cent of its population.

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Those who have received the vaccine and begin having a severe or persistent headache, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, leg welling, or unusual bruising around the shot site should go to the hospital immediately.

"The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time", a health ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.

Johnson and Johnson also required a no-fault compensation scheme before it would sell vaccines to Australia, which the government was not committed to introducing.

"With this very important vaccine that's rolling out through the U.S., will start to roll out through the United Kingdom very soon, if there is a decision not to go with it, what are the reasons for that?" he told the ABC.

"We've got a prime minister that's retreated to Facebook and a minister who's making announcements through a spokesperson without clear background information".

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