FRIDAY, APRIL 9
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says the advice that Pfizer be the preferred vaccine for people under 50 has been made out of caution and the government and health experts are trying to be as transparent as possible.
One of the main points he wanted to get across was that even though the vaccine advice for people under 50 has changed, getting everyone vaccinated is extremely important – regardless of what dose they get.
“It was within 15 minutes [of getting the advice] that we told the nation about these matters,” he said.
“For young people and indeed for all Australians, the benefits of the vaccine program far outweigh any risks and that continues to be the case.
“I would really urge people to make sure that they are lining up when their turn comes to get the appropriate vaccine.
“I do really want to stress that for people in those priority groups right
now, people in aged care residences, people over the age of 50 AstraZeneca is perfectly safe.”
Professor Kelly said the government was in close contact with Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers about securing more doses.
On the day before US President Joe Biden announced new gun control measures, the US recorded its seventh mass shooting for 2021.
The plans to announce the new measures were already in place before a former NFL player killed five people in South Carolina.
The shooting brought America’s death toll from mass shootings in 2021 to 38, a problem Biden labelled “an epidemic, for God’s sake”.
“It has to stop,” he said.
Among the new measures are:
- a crackdown on self-assembled “ghost guns”
- a rule change to classify pistols with stabilising braces as short-barrelled rifles
- promises to provide more data on firearms trafficking
- Investing in community violence intervention programs
“Ghost guns” are homemade weapons that are assembled from parts and don’t have a serial number, making it difficult to trace them. In the US, it’s legal to build a “ghost gun” in a home and there’s no requirement for a background check.
A person with a “ghost gun”, made with 3D printed parts, attends a rally.(Reuters: Ford Fischer/News2Share)
Biden’s new rule would require “ghost gun” kits to carry serial numbers and for buyers to get background checks.
The new rules on pistols with stabilising braces — which can effectively turn pistols into rifles — will mean buyers will require a federal licence and pass a more thorough application process.
“The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation,” Biden said.
On the election campaign trail in 2020, the US president promised to take much more forceful action to combat America’s gun violence issue.
His plan, still available on his website, promised comprehensive measures like an assault weapons ban and a plan to buy back those already on America’s streets.
The plan also proposed background checks for all gun sales and banning the sale of guns and ammunition online.
But today’s new measures are a long way short of that, and it’s because of the political reality Biden faces in Congress.
His new rules were issued via executive order, a special power the US president can use to act without the approval of Congress.
But executive orders are limited and Biden’s most ambitious goals would need to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate.
He said today he wasn’t going to “give up” on that goal.
The reigning Mrs World has been released on bail by police after snatching the crown from, and allegedly injuring, this year’s Mrs Sri Lanka winner.
Caroline Jurie, who won the Mrs World 2020 competition and is from Sri Lanka, was accused of hurting Pushpika De Silva, who won the Mrs Sri Lanka title at a televised pageant held in Colombo on Sunday.
Moments after Ms De Silva won the title, Ms Jurie came on stage and took the crown from her, saying she was ineligible because she was divorced.
Ms Jurie then gave the crown to the first-runner up, declaring she was the winner.
Mrs World is a beauty pageant for married women and has been running since 1984. It is held in 80 countries around the world.
In a statement on her Facebook page, Ms De Silva denied being divorced.
“Being apart is one. Divorce is something else. I’m still an un-divorced woman,” she wrote.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said police received a complaint from Ms De Silva that she suffered injuries when her crown was removed.
Mr Rohana said Ms Jurie and a model, Chula Padmendra, were arrested on Thursday and charged with “simple hurt and criminal force” and were later released on bail.
The two women have been ordered to appear in court on April 19.
Ms Jurie declined to comment as she left the police station.
The incident at Sunday’s pageant, which was attended by the Prime Minister’s wife, created a huge uproar in the Indian Ocean island nation.
On Monday, the organisers of the pageant said they would return the crown to Ms De Silva.
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