Australia will only give the AstraZeneca vaccine to over-60s after fears of blood clots stopped thousands from getting the jab.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the major change to Australia’s vaccine rollout after receiving updated expert advice on Thursday.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advised the age limit for the Oxford University-developed vaccine to be raised to 60.
The new advice raises the age from 50, the mark set in April after concerns about extremely rare but serious blood clots.
Two people have died in Australia after developing the clotting condition, including a 52-year-old woman whose death is believed to spark the change.
Mr Hunt said everybody aged 40-59 would be eligible for the Pfizer jab.
Australia’s vaccine advisors have recommended AstraZeneca vaccine only be given to over-60s after fears of blood clots stopped thousands from getting the jab
The Health Minister said everybody aged 40-59 would be eligible for the Pfizer jab
He said it was a ‘conservative’ decision to advise AstraZeneca jabs to be restricted to Australians over 60.
‘The UK, for example, has an age range of 40 and above, South Korea 30 and above, and Germany has no age limits after 18 and above,’ he said on Thursday.
Mr Hunt said the government would adopt the recommendation, further complicating Australia’s vaccine rollout with will now need even more doses of the Pfizer jab.
Professor Brendan Murphy said older Australians should continue to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
‘To those 3.8 million Australians who’ve had a first dose of AstraZeneca, go get your second dose,’ he said.
‘It’s a completely different picture for second doses.’
As of last week, more than 3.6 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered nationwide since the rollout kicked off in February.
AstraZeneca, which is directly linked to the deaths of two Australians, is currently only on offer to Aussies 50 and older due to the low risk of blood clotting
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday she was aware the advisory group had been meeting over the past few days.
‘Those experts have the best information,’ she said.
The 50-year-old premier got the AstraZeneca jab in March.
‘What is really important is for us to follow the health advice and when I got my vaccine the health advice was and still is that anyone over 50 should go to the GP and get the AstraZeneca,’ she said.
Australian Medical Association vice president Chris Moy last week said hesitancy had been a significant issue after extremely rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
‘Patients really have needed that guiding hand of the general practitioner to be able to talk them through this that I’m not sure pharmacists do,’ he told ABC radio last week.
He said there were about 4,600 practices that could be called on to join the rollout and further boost the pace of jabs.
One in four Australian adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with more than six million jabs administered across the country.
A 52-year-old NSW woman died last week after developing a blood clots condition linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has compared AstraZeneca-linked deaths to those naturally caused by blood clots.
‘To date, the observed number of deaths reported after vaccination is actually less than the expected number of deaths,’ the TGA said in a statement.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was a ‘conservative’ decision to advise AstraZeneca jabs to be restricted to Australians over 60
One in four Australian adults have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with more than six million jabs administered across the country
A 52-year-old NSW woman died last week after developing a blood clots condition linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine
‘Each year in Australia, there are about 160,000 deaths, equating to 13,300 a month or 3,050 each week. In the most recent reporting year, two-thirds of these deaths were in people aged 75 years and over.’
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was seeking access to other vaccines.
‘Obviously, our success as an economy to keep the momentum going will depend on our ability to suppress the virus,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
‘That means following the health restrictions, but it also means rolling out the vaccine. That is what we are seeking to do as more supply becomes available.’
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the clotting was extremely rare and doctors had a lot more information on how to diagnose and treat the condition.
‘We will continue to learn from these unfortunate circumstances and will tie it into advice to all practitioners,’ he said.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said patient safety remained its highest priority.
‘We continue to work closely with the TGA and other regulators around the world as they investigate these very rare cases.’
Cabinet minister Peter Dutton said the death was a tragedy but needed to be put in perspective, comparing it to the millions of deaths from coronavirus around the world.
Post source: Daily Mail