COVID-19 vaccination – advice on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Professor Michael Kidd answering COVID-19 vaccine questions from people with disability about who should get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Lisa: As we’ve recently heard, Australian medical experts have said the Pfizer vaccine is preferred for people aged under 50 years. Michael, can you clarify and explain who can now get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
Michael: So, at the moment the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 50 years and above. People below 50 years can still have the AstraZeneca vaccine, but we’re recommending if they would like to do that, that they have a discussion with their doctor first. Balancing up the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine and making sure that they’re providing consent to receive the vaccine.
Lisa: And why did the medical experts make this decision?
Michael: So the reason was because of the emergence of this very rare side effect, Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, in relationship to the AstraZeneca vaccine, and what we’ve seen is that the AstraZeneca vaccine is still recommended for people aged over 50 because the risks of being infected with COVID-19 and developing severe complications or dying from the infection is far greater than the risks associated with the vaccine. However, for people under the age of 50, the risk of course, is much less of developing severe disease or of dying from COVID-19 and that’s why the 50 year cut off has been put in place.
Lisa: I’m actually booked in for my first AstraZeneca vaccine Michael, what do I do?
Michael: So it depends on your age if you’re aged over 50 then we’re recommending that you continue and receive the AstraZeneca vaccine and this will provide you with protection if and when we get outbreaks of COVID-19 occurring in Australia. If you’re aged under 50 years of age, then we recommend that you have a talk to your doctor. For you, if you’re under 50, the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred vaccine for everyone under the age of 50 in Australia.
Lisa: Michael, if you’ve had your first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, what should you do now?
Michael: So at the moment the advice from Australian Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation is that if you’ve had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and you have not experienced this very severe side effect, which as I say is very very rare, then it is safe for you to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.