The Australian government has confirmed that it will not purchase any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson due to similarities with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed in a statement that the government has decided against including the one-shot Janssen vaccine in its vaccination program because it is “the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
“The Janssen vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine, the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine. The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time,” the spokesperson stated.
Johnson & Johnson said that it was working with health regulators to assess and provide relevant data.
“At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Reports of rare blood clotting cases among recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine has caused several countries to either suspend its use or limit it to a certain age group.
In Australia, the AstraZeneca vaccine is no longer the preferred shot for those under 50. Instead, a new advice has placed the Pfizer vaccine as the preferred option for the age group.
The government also confirmed last week that it has ordered an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Facebook that he hoped a majority of the population will be vaccinated by the end of the year.
The government has been under criticism due to the pace of its vaccination program, significantly missing targets due to supply issues and concerns on side effects.
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