AstraZeneca making a comeback, says PM

Liz Hobday and Paul OsborneAAP
VideoSome 1,000 Buddhist monks and temple staff recieve AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine at Wat Si Sudaram Worawihan, a temple in the western part of Bangkok.

The AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is “making a comeback” according to Scott Morrison, despite complaints from doctors that they could be sued for administering COVID shots.

On Friday, state and territory leaders gave their in-principle agreement to a national plan that would see border restrictions ease and city-wide lockdowns unlikely once Australia reached a full vaccination rate of 70 per cent.

About 18 per cent of Australians have been fully vaccinated.

The AZ jab is necessary for the country to reach vaccination rates of 70 per cent and above, Mr Morrison said.

He told 2GB radio in Sydney on Saturday that AstraZeneca has been “talked down for a long time” but the jabs are especially vital in greater Sydney, as the city deals with a worsening outbreak and prolonged lockdown.

CSL PHASE 2A VACCINATION ROLLOUT
Camera IconA virus expert can't understand why some older Australians have rejected the AstraZeneca vaccine. Credit: AAP

The ADF has deployed another 300 personnel to help NSW Police with isolation and welfare checks, as NSW reported 210 new locally acquired virus cases on Saturday with at least 32 in the community during their infectious period.

Meanwhile Queensland has imposed a snap three-day lockdown with six new cases reported.

The AZ jab has not been the preferred option for people under 50 due to a very rare blood clot side effect.

The vaccine rollout is still beset by other problems, with doctors worried they could be sued for administering COVID vaccines.

Delegates at the Australian Medical Association national conference on Saturday renewed calls for a no-fault vaccination indemnity scheme, as promised by the federal government in June, but still not finalised.

Dr Chris Moy told the conference the “frustrating” issue had compromised the rollout at critical stages, while another delegate said it had been a “sco-mozzle”.

“We are doing the heavy lifting, the hard work, and we are not being supported,” the doctor said.

Mr Morrison has promised enough vaccines for the country to reach 70 per cent full coverage by Christmas.

According to the plan agreed to on Friday, when the rate of fully vaccinated Australians reaches 70 per cent, lockdowns will be unlikely, and at 80 per cent city-wide lockdowns are expected to end.

Fully vaccinated residents will be exempt from all domestic restrictions while caps on returning Australians will be abolished.

People who have received both jabs will be allowed to travel overseas and travellers from countries with high vaccination rates will be given the green light to enter.

Speaking to reporters in Adelaide, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said he was confident the states would not decide to go it alone with future lockdowns once agreed vaccination rates had been achieved.

But Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said quarantine remained a standout problem.

“Until we get the vaccination rates up and until we fix national quarantine, we’ll continue to have announcements like we’ve had this morning with further restrictions on people’s activity,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Morrison’s plan for a vaccine passport looks set to be challenged in court.

Mining magnate and former federal politician Clive Palmer has announced he will launch a High Court challenge to the proposal, arguing it is unconstitutional.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails