The Informer: AstraZeneca setback a blow to tourism in Australia

Vaccine setback a huge blow to tourism industry

The nation's vaccine rollout is likely to be significantly delayed after changes to advice on the AstraZeneca jab in Australia.

Late on Thursday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest health advice was that people under the age of 50 avoid receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine because of extremely rare blood clots.

Australia has secured an extra 20 million Pfizer vaccines, which is double the amount of doses we were set to receive.

But the extra doses aren't expected to be delivered until the fourth quarter of this year.

At a press conference this afternoon, Mr Morrison stressed there was no ban or prohibition on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"There is a recommendation for a preference but these are matters that individuals can discuss with their doctor," he said.

This latest issue in Australia's vaccination program will have many knock-on effects, including further delays to international travel and changes to border controls.

Tourism and Trade Minister Dan Tehan said it could be "very much the case" that tourists would be the last visitors to return in a staggered lifting of travel restrictions, with international students and businesspeople likely to be among the first overseas travellers to Australia.

"We've obviously got to prioritise what's best for our nation both economically and most importantly on the health front," he told Sky News on Friday.

The approach isn't overly surprising, but the latest delay to the nation's vaccine rollout is another blow to the hospitality and tourism industry.

So many businesses have only survived with the help of federal government stimulus like JobKeeper and the reopening of domestic travel, but this setback with the vaccine rollout could spell the end for those who were holding out for tourism to start ramping up.

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