NSW suspends AstraZeneca vaccinations for ALL residents after Australia’s top doctors advised it not be used for anyone under 50 over link to rare blood clot condition
- New South Wales temporarily suspends AstraZeneca vaccine for all age groups
- Health officials said it would remain in place until consent information updated
- AstraZeneca shots will resume for people aged 50 and over later on Friday
Australian health authorities on Thursday night recommended the vaccine not be used for people under 50, but was safe for older recipients.
However, NSW Health said it had ‘temporarily paused’ giving it to anyone until it could update its informed consent information.
‘Following the new advice from the Commonwealth last night, informed consent information will be updated to provide patients and those administering the AstraZeneca vaccine with the latest information,’ it said.
Australian health authorities on Thursday night recommended the vaccine not be used for people under 50, but was safe for older recipients
A spokesperson said the vaccine would become available again to people aged 50 and over later on Friday (pictured, nurse receives the Covid-19 jab at Townsville in Queensland)
A spokesperson said the vaccine would become available again to people aged 50 and over later on Friday.
‘As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required before administering COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring recipients make decisions based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.’
The recommendation by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) was accepted by the federal government under an ‘abundance of caution’ over the ‘rare but serious’ side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Australia had ordered 20 million imported doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough for 10 million people, but had banked on the AstraZeneca product for the majority of shots with biopharma CSL Ltd contracted to make 50 million doses domestically.
Pfizer remained committed to delivering all 20 million doses by the end of 2021 and the Australians were already talking to the company about upping its order, Kelly noted.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that it respected the Australian decision and was working with regulators around the world ‘to understand the individual cases, epidemiology and possible mechanisms that could explain these extremely rare events’.
Australia had ordered 20 million imported doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough for 10 million people, but had banked on the AstraZeneca product for the majority of shots with biopharma CSL Ltd contracted to make 50 million doses domestically
AstraZeneca said in a statement that it respected the Australian decision and was working with regulators around the world ‘to understand the individual cases, epidemiology and possible mechanisms that could explain these extremely rare events’ (pictured, resident gets Covid-19 jab in Kimberley region)
CSL said it remained committed to meeting its contracted arrangements with Australia and AstraZeneca to make the vaccine ‘which remains critical for the protection of our most vulnerable populations’.
As well as the AstraZeneca and Pfizer contracts, Australia ordered 51 million doses of a vaccine being trialled by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Novavax Inc, but local authorities say they do not expect to approve the product until late 2021.
After saying Australia had 150 million vaccine doses on order, enough for several times the population, the government said in January that it planned to have four million vaccinated by the end of March, only to have 600,000 by that time.
‘Australians won’t forget who is responsible for failing to deliver on what are his own promises and his own commitments,’ opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese told reporters on Friday.
‘They should have listened to the expert advice that was given to the government, and indeed to all governments, about not placing all our eggs in one basket’.
Australia is the latest country to join a long list of European nations that have at one time suspended the use of the vaccine (pictured, resident receives the Covid-19 jab in Western Australia’s Kimberley region)
Your two-minute guide to changes in Australia’s Coivd vaccine rollout
New AstraZeneca recommendations:
– The use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca in Australian adults under 50 who have not already received their first AstraZeneca dose
– Australian immunisation providers should only give a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under 50 where the benefit clearly outweighs the risk
– Australians who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse events can safely be given their second dose, including those under 50
– Australians who have had blood clots associated with low platelet levels after their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given a second dose
– Australia’s Department of Health further develop and refine resources for informed consent that clearly convey the AstraZeneca vaccine’s benefits and the risks
How will this affect Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout?
– Rollout plan will be recalibrated and re-evaluated
– End of October timeline for every Australian to receive first vaccine dose in doubt
– Phase 1b – which includes younger adults with a medical condition or disability and frontline health workers among others – may be delayed
– Pfizer vaccine will be reprioritised for under 50s once phase 1a finishes
– Australia’s vaccine purchases under review
How often do AstraZeneca blood clots occur?
– Four to six cases per million AstraZeneca vaccine doses
– One known Australian case found in a 44-year-old man admitted to hospital in Melbourne
– 25 per cent death rate in known cases
– More common among younger people
– Cause unknown
How the AstraZeneca vaccine works:
– Adenovirus vaccine – To make the vaccine, the common cold virus is genetically modified to trigger it to make the Covid spike protein – which the virus uses to invade cells.
– When the vaccine is administered the patient’s immune system attacks the spike protein by building antibodies, priming it to fight off Covid before it leads to an infection.