Australia

Oxford University vaccine: No delays despite clinical trial pause

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the pause of the Oxford University vaccine trials will not prevent Australia from accessing the jab early next year.The stage 3 clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine came to a halt this week after a participant had an adverse reaction and was sent to hospital.“The advice that I had…

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the pause of the Oxford University vaccine trials will not prevent Australia from accessing the jab early next year.

The stage 3 clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine came to a halt this week after a participant had an adverse reaction and was sent to hospital.

“The advice that I had from the head of AstraZeneca Australia is that there is no change to the timetable for the delivery of the vaccine in Australia,” Mr Hunt said.

“They have no belief that it will be changed in terms of its nature, form or delivery, but they are always subject to the medical advice.”

AstraZeneca on Thursday told Mr Hunt that the illness, although neurological in nature, remained undiagnosed.

But Mr Hunt was not concerned, saying the vaccine was part of the “highest and most rigorous of safety oversight programs imaginable”.

He said the clinical trial might resume within days but “it may be longer”.

Australia on Thursday recorded a total of 26,513 coronavirus cases and 798 deaths since the pandemic began.

There are 195 Australians in hospital. Of those, 23 are in intensive care and 15 of those are on ventilation.

Mr Hunt also commended the Victorian Government for taking steps to improve its contact tracing, including digitising the process and having staff fly to NSW to learn from their approach.

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