ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting – 26 May 2021

An update from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) following their weekly meeting on 26 May 2021.

Date published:
General public

ATAGI met on Wednesday 26 May 2021 to review the latest developments relating to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) cases in Australia and overseas.

ATAGI considered an update from the TGA on current confirmed cases and those under investigation. The latest TGA statement on TTS cases can be found here. Coverage data on COVID-19 vaccines administered up to 23 May 2021 was also considered.

ATAGI discussed the publication of the ATAGI/THANZ joint statement on TTS and the use of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. The statement provides updated information about TTS and reaffirms ATAGI's previous advice regarding the safe use of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

ATAGI considered updated estimates of risk of TTS by age group in Australia and note that there has been 27 confirmed cases and a further 6 are considered probable in around 1.9 million doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca given up to 12 May 2021.

Although estimates of risk based on small numbers of cases are imprecise, the risk of TTS is estimated in Australia at around:

  • 2.6 per 100,000 in those <50 years; and
  • 1.6 per 100,000 in those ≥50 years.

ATAGI notes that of the cases of TTS reported after vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia, one of these patients had a fatal outcome, however all other patients are stable or recovering.

While some patients have required surgical procedures, many cases have presented with less severe clotting disorders that have not required prolonged hospital stay. This is likely to reflect heightened clinical awareness, as well as prompt diagnosis and effective treatment.

At this time, there is no update to the ATAGI statement from 23 April 2021 in relation to the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

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