The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation also recommended that people under 50 who had already received their first AstraZeneca shot should proceed with getting their second shot, as the medical advice indicated the rare blood clots only develop after the first dose.
The group said that only when the benefit clearly outweighs the risk should an initial AstraZeneca shot be given to someone under 50.
Healthcare workers under 50 who were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine will now be prioritized for the Pfizer vaccine, which will likely delay the inoculation process.
Indeed, under Australia’s vaccine strategy, most people were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Opposition politicians said the European agency's findings highlighted the danger in Australia failing to secure vaccine deals with other suppliers.
The move in Australia came after British authorities recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine not be given to adults under 30 where possible. Several other countries have also imposed limits.
Such restrictions are closely watched since the vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to store than many others, is critical to global immunization campaigns and is a pillar of the U.N.-backed program known as COVAX that aims to get vaccines to some of the world’s poorest countries.
In this image made from video, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, with Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, speaks during a news conference in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, April 8, 2021. Australia on Thursday become the latest country to restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine by recommending that it not be given to people under age 50. (SBS via AP)