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Australia wants to accelerate the adoption of COVID-19 vaccines to those over 50

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic is seen in Melbourne

From Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia plans to accelerate the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in people over 50 after advising under-50s not to receive the AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 sting due to blood clot problems, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

Heads of state agreed to move ahead with vaccinating those over 50, beyond the frontline workers, the elderly, the disabled and those with underlying diseases, at a national cabinet meeting, which is formally due Thursday, Morrison said in a statement .

They also agreed to set up mass vaccination sites as vaccine supplies increase.

Vaccine rollout in Australia has stalled due to supply shortages in Europe and blood clot concerns related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which Australia has relied on for most of its supply.

To date, 1.59 million shots have been fired out of a population of 25 million.

The country has orders of the Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 and Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 Recordings for younger folks, but those batches aren’t expected to arrive until the fourth quarter.

Morrison has said even if people are vaccinated, he will not rush to open the state border and resist calls from prime ministers asking him to loosen the curbs.

“Right now we are living in Australia like the rest of the world doesn’t. Vaccination will be an important mechanism to ensure that it continues to do so,” Morrison told reporters ahead of the national cabinet meeting.

“But I must also emphasize that international borders are also an incredibly important protection for Australians and that I will not relax these restrictions lightly,” he said.

So far, Australia has only one travel bubble with New Zealand, which reopened its border to visitors from all over the Tasman Sea on Monday.

“I disagree with the comments made last week to say that even if the vaccine is introduced to the population, we cannot travel. I am not buying this,” said Gladys Berejiklian, New South Prime Minister Wales, ahead of the national cabinet meeting.

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