Concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine

Concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine

Australians should continue to get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine unless they’re under 50, in which case the Pfizer vaccine may be more appropriate. 

11 April 2021

Recently, there have been reports from Europe and the UK of a small number of cases of a rare type of blood clot (not your typical deep-vein thrombosis in the leg) that may be linked to the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. This condition is called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTP).

There has also been one likely case in Australia, which has been thoroughly investigated. 

Please don’t let this development deter you from getting vaccinated – health experts recommend that all adults get vaccinated against COVID. The Australian population remains vulnerable to COVID-19 – most Australians have not yet been vaccinated and are not immune. 

The Government and National Cabinet have accepted advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) that Australians should continue to get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine unless they’re under 50, in which case the Pfizer vaccine may be more appropriate. 

ATAGI have recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine can still be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. 

It is important to remember that the chances of developing this rare type of blood-clot is around five in one million. This is far lower than the chances of developing a blood clot in the legs (DVT) from taking the contraceptive pill, for instance (around 150–300 per million women).

People who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose. This includes adults under 50 years. 

If you have any concerns please discuss this with your GP. 

The Government has successfully ordered additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Please see the Department of Health website for more information.

Flu and other vaccines

The flu vaccine is now available in Australia. A two-week gap between the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine (and other commonly administered vaccines such as pneumonia, shingles or tetanus) is required. 

Always refer to your federal and state or territory health department websites for the most up to date information, or discuss any concerns you have with your GP.

More information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.