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Coronavirus

Australia to Buy Extra 20 Million Doses of Pfizer Vaccine

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has finalized a deal to buy an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine as it rapidly pivots away from its earlier plan to rely mainly on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the deal Friday after saying Australia would stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 50.

He said the deal means Australia will get a total of 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year, enough to inoculate 20 million people in the nation of 26 million.

Australia’s pivot came after the European Medicines Agency said this week it had found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, though regulators have continued to say the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for most people.

The pivot represents a significant shift in Australia’s overall approach and is likely to delay plans to have everybody inoculated by October.

A major part of Australia’s strategy had been making its own vaccines without importing them. It had planned to manufacture some 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, enough for 25 million people. Australia had made no plans to make any other vaccines at home.

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