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New advice for AstraZeneca ‘most cautious in the world’, Health Minister admits

Article image for New advice for AstraZeneca ‘most cautious in the world’, Health Minister admits

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 jab “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.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt assured Jim Wilson the change won’t prevent any part of the population from being vaccinated.

“It will take a little bit of patience to ensure that we have enough the space for all of the bookings, but … we’ll make sure that everybody’s got access.

“The medical advice is probably some of the most cautious in the world, but that protects Australians.”

Press PLAY below to hear the Health Minister’s response

Image: Getty

Jim Wilson
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