Australia has ruled out using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as part of the immediate national rollout.
The revelations follow damning advice last week that the AstraZeneca vaccine was no longer recommended for people aged under 50.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose jab, widely administered across the US and approved for use in Europe.
But a spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Janssen vaccine was an adenovirus vaccine, the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time,” the spokesperson said.
Opposition health spokesman Mark Butler said it was “not good enough” to learn of this development from a spokesperson without any background of explanation.
“This is a critical juncture the nation faces at the moment,” Mr Butler told ABC Breakfast.
“We’ve got a vaccine rollout that’s run off the rails, and the Prime Minister needs to come clean with Australians about what the new plan is, what the new timelines and targets are.
“The communication channels from the government have shut down.”
Federal Labor has long been calling for the government to sign up to more supply deals, saying other countries have up to six, while Australia only has agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax.
“Australia needs more vaccine options on the table,” Mr Butler said.
The AstraZeneca jab will continue to be administered to people aged over 50 under the national rollout.
The government last week announced it had also doubled its Pfizer vaccine supply to 40 million doses, with the additional 20 million due to arrive from October.
New figures show fewer than 1.2 million vaccine doses had been administered across Australia so far.