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Concerns for older Australians waiting for the Pfizer vaccine

Scott Emerson
Article image for Concerns for older Australians waiting for the Pfizer vaccine

An infectious diseases expert says the messaging around the risks and benefits for younger Australians receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine could have been better handled.

Yesterday, the panel which advises the government on vaccines advised people who live in areas with COVID-19 cases and do not have immediate access to a Pfizer vaccine could consider AstraZeneca instead.

ATAGI still recommends Pfizer as the “preferred” vaccine for those under the age of 60, due to rare blood clotting conditions linked to the AZ jab, but a “changing risk-benefit” balance in Sydney means people should reassess their options.

Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert from ANU Medical School, said the risk has always been the same.

“The only difference now is that to some degree we had a sense of complacency … well that’s not the case and it was probably never the case, you can never predict how this was going to spread, it can come in anywhere, particularly in winter,” he told Scott Emerson.

“That’s changed the equation,┬áso we now have adequate supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the first time, whereas we didn’t probably a month or 6 weeks ago.

“I think the communication particularly of the benefit versus the risk and where you draw the line could have been better.”

He said one of the concerns is people waiting for the Pfizer vaccine.

“One of the worries is that there are still 30 per cent of people over the age of 70 who still haven’t even received the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Press PLAY to hear his thoughts and the rollout

Scott Emerson
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