New advice recommends against AstraZeneca vaccine for low-risk under 50s
Australia’s rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine to most under 50s has been put on hold, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has investigated a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting in a small number of recipients.
After reviewing the risk, ATAGI has made three recommendations which the federal government has accepted:
- The Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred vaccine for under 50s.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine should still be provided to under 50s who are at high risk of complications from COVID-19, “where the benefit clearly outweighs the risk”.
- Those who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are safe to be given a second dose.
“There is not a prohibition on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, there is the expression of a preference,” the Prime Minister stressed.
Individuals will be allowed to make their own decision about taking it, in consultation with their general practitioner.
“There will be a recalibration of how the program needs to be adjusted” in the coming days.
Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy said Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout will “pretty much continue as we are”, though prioritisation of the Pfizer vaccine for healthcare workers may cause delays.
Over 50s will be unaffected, and “those vulnerable to severe COVID will be covered by the middle of the year”.
“We are now reviewing all of the vaccine purchases.”
Image: SBS News