Australia Says Vaccine Choices Made on Best Medical Advice

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the University Children's Clinic in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed an agreement with Serbian government to supply 2 million doses of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, RDIF says in statement. Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg
Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the University Children's Clinic in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed an agreement with Serbian government to supply 2 million doses of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, RDIF says in statement. Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The Australian government reaffirmed confidence in its “portfolio approach” to Covid-19 vaccines as the nation prepares to inoculate its population next month.

“That has been the best medical advice available to us. What we know with the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it’s safe, that it’s available, that it can be manufactured here, it can be transported at normal refrigeration levels,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Thursday.

The clarification comes after some medical groups called for the government to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine because of concern that it may not be effective enough to generate herd immunity. Subject to approvals, front line workers and aged-care residents in Australia will start to get the vaccine next month, with general practitioners and pharmacies using the AstraZeneca vaccine and hospitals the Pfizer Inc. dose, due to the latter’s storage requirements.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine saves lives and it is important, as the epidemiologists and the microbiologists and other health experts tell us, to get that vaccine out to Australians and to ensure that the Covid-19 infections do not increase across the community,” Frydenberg told Sky News.

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