Dr Lucas de Toca talks about the new ATAGI recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination program
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Hello, my name is Dr Lucas de Toca and I lead the Department of Health’s Primary Care Response to COVID-19. Before joining the Department, I used to work in the ACCHO in Nhulunbuy in East Arnhem land in the Northern Territory.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, ATAGI, have met to assess the AstraZeneca vaccine in relation to a serious clotting event following vaccination. This is a very rare condition that affects approximately 4 in every million people. It presents as a very specific thrombosis with a low platelet count.

ATAGI have recommended that the use of Pfizer is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults under 50 years old who have not already had a first dose of AstraZeneca. For those over 50, the advice remains the same, to receive the vaccine when you can.

People who have already had a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and have not had any significant side effects will be able to receive their second dose safely.

The vaccination program continues to be a crucial way to protect our community from the serious effects of COVID-19 and to help us move on from the pandemic.

The Department is working on recalibrating the rollout program, to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccines. This, of course, will include expanded options for younger people to access the preferred vaccine.

Please be aware there is an updated consent form that you should review with your patients before administering the vaccine.

We will be updating the Department of Health website over the coming days and we will be sharing more details about the vaccine rollout program, including updated information for providers and patients.

No one knows your community better than you, and we appreciate your support in working through this change with us. Thank you.