Statement in response to latest ATAGI advice
A statement from the Professor Paul Kelly, Australian Government Chief Medical Officer in response to the latest Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice on COVID-19 vaccines.
From the outset, the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been based on the best scientific and medical advice available.
We have prioritised the health of the Australian population above all else.
Today, the Australian Government has accepted updated advice from the vaccination experts on the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This advice is based on the latest evidence.
The experts at ATAGI have today updated their advice to recommend the Pfizer vaccine be preferred for adults under the age of 60.
Up until today, ATAGI’s advice had been the Pfizer vaccine be preferred for adults under the age of 50.
For people aged 60 and over, the benefits of vaccination, with any vaccine including AstraZeneca, far outweigh the risks.
ATAGI also recommended people of all ages who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without serious adverse effects should have their second dose of AstraZeneca. It is important people complete their two-dose course to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Evidence from the UK shows the rate of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after a second dose of AstraZeneca is significantly lower than for first doses.
ATAGI’s updated advice is based on new evidence demonstrating a higher risk than originally thought of the rare blood-clotting TTS among people aged 50 to 59.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout will continue, but will be adjusted as we expand the number of access points for the Pfizer vaccine.
The Commonwealth will work closely with the states and territories, including on how their arrangements will be adjusted to offer the Pfizer vaccine to people aged 50 to 59, and to scale up as supply increases.
The Department of Health is providing updated advice to general practitioners and health professionals.