Australians under 50 are advised against receiving the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, the basis for the vaccine’s roll-out in the country, after medical experts raised concerns about blood clots abroad.
It comes from advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI), which still recommends AstraZeneca for those over 50.
In an instant press conference Thursday evening, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the group had met several hours earlier on Thursday and made 7 p.m. recommendations for the people of Australia.
“At present, the use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults under the age of 50 who have not already received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Chief Medical Officer, professor Paul Kelly.
“This is based on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with age, and therefore the increased benefit of vaccination.
“The second recommendation is that immunization service providers should only administer a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under the age of 50 where the benefit clearly outweighs the risk in that person’s situation.
“The third recommendation is that people who have received their first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca without any serious adverse events can safely receive their second dose.”
Department of Health Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said the approach had been taken with “great caution”, ensuring that healthcare workers under the age of 50 in phase 1b would be given priority with the vaccine. Pfizer.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government will continue to follow medical advice as more evidence becomes available.
“If they advise age restrictions or other variations, we will, we will pass it,” Mr. Hunt said.
Explaining the reasons for the changes in vaccine deployment, Mr Morrison said, with Australia’s ‘strong position without community transmission’, that ‘there is no place you’d rather be’ and the government continued to act “in the best interests of Australians” on medical advice. .
The measures are similar to those taken in the UK, where the UK Vaccine Advisory Committee has recommended that an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those under 30 when possible due to an effect rare and “endangered” secondary blood clots in the brain.
The implications of the decision on vaccine deployment are not yet widely known as it will largely affect those in the general population who are expected to receive their first vaccine in mid-year.