Hello, my name is Dr Lucas de Toca and I lead the Department of Health’s Primary Care Response to COVID-19.
A team of medical experts called the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, or ATAGI, have updated their advice on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
They have said that people aged under 50 who have not already received the AstraZeneca vaccine should get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine instead.
ATAGI recommended this because of new information about a very rare blood clotting side effect that can happen after people get the AstraZeneca vaccine. This condition is called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS.
Even though this side effect is rare, it can make people very sick.
TTS appears to be more common after the AstraZeneca vaccination in people under 50 years of age.
The ATAGI advice is that people aged 50 years and over can continue to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
People aged under 50 may still be able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine where the benefit for them is likely to outweigh the risk. Because if they want to travel or in a particular high risk environment.
It is important to be fully aware of this rare side effect to make an informed decision.
People who have had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and have not had this serious side effect, can receive their second dose– regardless of age. The risk of TTS following a second dose is much lower than after the first dose.
Vaccination saves lives. Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout program is an effective way of protecting you, your family and the community from COVID-19.
Safety is always the priority and even after a vaccine is given to you, it is still monitored for safety.
If you need more information you can call the Disability Gateway Helpline on 1800 643 787 or visit the Disability Gateway website on www.disabilitygateway.gov.au
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.
For translating and interpreting services call 131 450 and ask for the helpline.
We are updating this resource. Please read the statement from ATAGI on booster doses and check back later.