The recent changes in vaccine guidance from the Federal Government have resulted in some of our members asking questions about eligibility and safety. Please see below for the most up-to-date information from trusted sources.
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In light of the COVID-19 outbreak involving the Delta variant, The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released a statement around:
the re-assessment of benefits versus risks of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca for adults under 60 years old
updated advice about the optimal interval between the two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in an outbreak setting.
ATAGI reinforces that the benefits of vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca strongly outweigh the risks of adverse effects in those ≥60 years, and that vaccination is essential for this group in the context of an outbreak.
Every effort should be made to support vaccination of people in priority groups (e.g., older people, healthcare workers, disability and aged care workers, and those with listed medical comorbidities).
In the context of a COVID-19 outbreak where the supply of Comirnaty (Pfizer) is constrained, adults younger than 60 years old who do not have immediate access to Comirnaty (Pfizer) should re-assess the benefits to them and their contacts from being vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, versus the rare risk of a serious side effect.
While the recommended interval between the first and second doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is between 4 and 12 weeks, in outbreak situations an interval of between 4 and 8 weeks is preferred. Therefore, people in an outbreak situation who received their first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca more than 4 weeks ago should contact their vaccine provider to arrange their second dose as soon as possible. In non-outbreak settings, the preferred interval between doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca remains at 12 weeks.
All people who receive COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should be provided with information about common and rare but serious side effects, including the symptoms and signs of the thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). They should be advised that if they experience any signs or symptoms consistent with TTS, they should seek immediate medical attention.
Any additional unallocated supplies of both Comirnaty (Pfizer) and COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should be prioritised to populations and areas of greatest risk of COVID-19.
Recommendations around the use of Comirnaty (Pfizer) remain unchanged in outbreak settings.
Additionally, here are some facts about the risk of serious side-effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine:
Don't forget that our team is available 24/7 to support you if you have questions or concerns.