ATAGI has released a number of recommendations relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Based on the emerging evidence of the extremely rare adverse side effect of blood clots, which is estimated to impact 4-6 recipients of the AstraZeneca Vaccine per 1,000,000 doses, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), has made the following statement relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout:
At the current time, the use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age, and thus increased benefit of the vaccination, and the potentially lower, but not zero risk, of this rare event with increasing age.
The second recommendation is that immunisation providers should only give a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under 50 years of age where benefit clearly outweighs the risk for that individual’s circumstances.
The third recommendation is people that have had their first dose of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca without any serious adverse events can safely be given their second dose. This includes adults under the age of 50, and people who have had blood clots associated with low platelet levels after their first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca should not be given the second dose. So that’s the all but one person that we’ve had so far in Australia are in that category – people that have had their first dose should safely have their second dose.
The final recommendation is that the Department of Health further develop and refine resources for informed consent that clearly convey the benefits and the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine for both immunisation providers and consumers of all ages, and that is underway, that work, and that will be provided overnight and into the morning.
For further information relating to this update, please direct your questions to your primary healthcare professional.