UK halts AstraZeneca jabs for under-30s

Original article by Hans van Leeuwen
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 : 9-Apr-21

Britain’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has recommended that people under the age of 30 should not be given AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine due to the potential risk of blood clots. MHRA CEO June Raine says the decision was made out of "utmost caution", and notes that the incidence of blood clotting is extremely rare. More than 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered across the UK to date, with 79 cases of blood clots having been reported; 19 of them were fatal. The MHRA has stated that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any risks.

CORPORATES
GREAT BRITAIN. MEDICINES AND HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS REGULATORY AGENCY

Clot fears force vaccine switch

Original article by Natasha Robinson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 9-Apr-21

The federal government has acted on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, which has recommended that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine be restricted to people aged 50+. ATAGI stated that Pfizer’s vaccine is now preferred for people under the age of 50, after the European Medicines Agency concluded that there is a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a blood-clotting syndrome. Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy says the government has acted out of an "abundance of caution", given that the extremely rare syndrome mainly affects younger people. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded that the target date for giving all Australians at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will need to be revised.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP ON IMMUNISATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, ASTRAZENECA PLC, PFIZER INCORPORATED, EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY

PNG man dies of COVID-19 in Qld hospital

Original article by Stuart Layt, Lydia Lynch
Brisbane Times – Page: Online : 7-Apr-21

Queensland Health has advised that a 77-year-old man has died of COVID-19 complications in intensive care at a hospital near Brisbane. The man had been flown from Papua New Guinea to Redcliffe Hospital on 28 March after his condition deteriorated. It is the first COVID-19 death in Queensland since early April 2020; however, the man will not be included in the state’s official death toll as he had been diagnosed in PNG, and he had dual citizenship of PNG and the UK. Queensland has recorded no new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, and there are 70 active cases in the state.

CORPORATES
QUEENSLAND HEALTH

Australia’s growth to beat forecasts: IMF

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 7-Apr-21

The International Monetary Fund has upgraded its economic growth forecast for Australia in 2021 to 4.5 per cent. Its previous forecast in January was for growth of 3.5 per cent. The IMF now expects the global economy to grow by six per cent in 2021 and 4.4 per cent in 2022. However, the IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath says the COVID-19 pandemic will require governments to continue to provide economic support measures. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe expects the domestic economy to record above-trend growth in both 2021 and 2022.

CORPORATES
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

AstraZeneca blood clot illness given own name

Original article by Jill Margo
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 7-Apr-21

The UK, Germany and Norway are among the countries that have reported cases of the blood-clotting syndrome that may be linked to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The novel syndrome has been designated as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) by German scientists. The Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand has established a national committee on the new syndrome; Associate Professor Vivien Chen says it has some similarities to existing immune-driven clotting syndromes. A 44-year-old Melbourne man is Australia’s first suspected case of VIPIT.

CORPORATES
THROMBOSIS AND HAEMOSTASIS SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

One in two given COVID vaccines report mild side effects

Original article by Kate Aubusson
The Age – Page: Online : 7-Apr-21

Data from AusVaxSafety shows that 49.7 per cent of Australians who had received the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine by the end of March had experienced at least one mild side effect. Some 1.2 per cent were sufficiently concerned to see a doctor or go to a hospital’s emergency department. More than two-thirds of people who received their first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine reported an adverse event, and 25.4 per cent said they had to take some time off from work, study or their daily duties. Meanwhile, 36.3 per cent of people reported an adverse event after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine; some 4.3 per cent had to miss work, study or routine duties.

CORPORATES
AUSVAXSAFETY

Morrison blames international supply issues for slow Covid vaccine rollout

Original article by Paul Karp
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 7-Apr-21

About 855,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered nationally since the federal government’s rollout began in late February. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the rollout has fallen well behind schedule because the government has not received 3.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Europe. It had contracted to buy 3.5 million doses from Europe in total, and a government source doubts that the remaining 400,000 doses will be delivered. Meanwhile, some 2.5 million doses that have been produced by CSL in Melbourne have yet to be distributed; Morrison says they must first undergo batch testing to ensure that they are safe.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, ASTRAZENECA PLC, CSL LIMITED – ASX CSL

NZ bubble sparks rush on holidays

Original article by Robyn Ironside, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 7-Apr-21

Tourism operators and airlines have reported a surge in bookings following official confirmation that Australians will be able travel to New Zealand without quarantining from 19 April. The tourism industry has described the trans-Tasman travel bubble as a ‘game changer’, while Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring has urged the governments of both nations to ensure that the travel corridor remains open. NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cautions that any new COVID-19 outbreaks could result in flights being suspended or travellers being required to quarantine.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF TRAVEL AGENTS LIMITED, NEW ZEALAND. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

AFP investigating politician’s office over questionable travel claims

Original article by Josh Butler
The New Daily – Page: Online : 6-Apr-21

It has been revealed in an Auditor-General’s report that the office of a federal politician is the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation over potential misuse of travel allowance claims. The information regarding the investigation was contained in a report by the Auditor-General into the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, with the report noting the IPEA uses a debt collector to recoup money from MPs and their staff who have claimed expenses and purchases that they should not have done. As of February, the IPEA had not received any information from the AFP regarding the outcome of its investigation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIA. INDEPENDENT PARLIAMENTARY EXPENSES AUTHORITY

IMF spurs debate on JobKeeper extension

Original article by Steve Jackson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 6-Apr-21

The International Monetary Fund’s latest economic outlook report highlights the role that job-retention schemes have played in supporting nations’ economies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington DC-based agency has also cautioned against winding back such measures too soon. Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood contends that the federal government’s fiscal capacity is sufficient to have maintained the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, which ended on 28 March. She notes that some sectors are still struggling in the wake of the pandemic.

CORPORATES
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, GRATTAN INSTITUTE