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Government raises advised age for AstraZeneca to over-60s

Scott Emerson
Article image for Government raises advised age for AstraZeneca to over-60s

The federal government has changed its advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine, recommending people below 60 receive the Pfizer jab.

The government has followed the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), which now recommends AstraZeneca only be given to people aged 60 and above.

ATAGI has strongly recommended second doses be completed for those who have already received AstraZeneca, even if they are aged under 60.

“We have no cases of this (blood clotting) condition in people who have had second doses in Australia,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said.

Professor Kelly stressed the AstraZeneca virus “remains a very effective vaccine”.

There have been 12 cases of the rare but serious blood clotting issue linked to the jab in Australia in the past week.

Seven of those cases were in the 50 to 59 age group, including a 52-year-old New South Wales woman who died from a blood clot in the brain two weeks ago.

Previously, the AstraZeneca jab was recommended for over 50s however, Pfizer is now the preferred vaccination for Australians under 60.

Pfizer will immediately be made available to 50-59s. Another 2.8 million doses of the vaccine are due to arrive this month.

“We’re adapting immediately and we’re able to do that,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Infectious Diseases Physician and Associate Professor in the Faculty Of Medicine at UQ, Dr Paul Griffin, said it was based on recent clotting cases in Australia as well as overseas.

“I think it’s definitely the right decision, for now.”

For anyone who has had the first dose of AstraZeneca, the advice is to get the second dose if you had no reaction.

“The clear advice at the moment if you’ve had the first dose and not had a reaction, definitely proceed with the second.”

He also said the data showed the TTS syndrome happens almost exclusively with the first dose.

Press PLAY below to hear Dr Paul Griffin explain the changes


Scott Emerson