17th June, 2021

Updated ATAGI advice regarding AstraZeneca vaccine

Communicable Diseases Coronavirus/COVID-19

The Australian Government has today received updated advice from the expert vaccine body, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The experts at ATAGI have today updated their advice to recommend the Pfizer vaccine be preferred for adults aged 59 and under.

The Government fully accepts the advice from ATAGI and will move to ensure Australia’s vaccination program and advice to the community is adjusted accordingly. The detail of that advice is attached.

The Government places safety above all else, as it has done throughout the pandemic, and will continue to follow the medical advice in protecting Australians.

The ATAGI advice remains clear that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe disease caused by COVID-19.

Up until today, ATAGI’s advice had been the Pfizer vaccine be preferred for adults aged 49 and under based on evidence related to the incidence of the very rare blood-clotting thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in this age cohort.

This updated advice received today is based on new evidence demonstrating a higher risk for the very rare TTS condition in the 50-59 year-old age group.

AstraZeneca remains recommended for those aged 60 and over based on the much higher risk of illness and death from COVID-19 in this age group, and the lower risk of this condition.

ATAGI also strongly recommends people of all ages who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without serious adverse effects have their second dose of AstraZeneca.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout will continue, but will be adjusted as we expand the number of access points for the Pfizer vaccine.

The 21 Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics already administering the Pfizer vaccine will be able to start accepting people aged 40 to 59 going forward as they are ready.

We will have 70 clinics administering Pfizer by 5 July, with all of the 136 Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics doing so by the end of July for the age range 40 to 59.

Primary care has been a cornerstone of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with more than 50 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines being administered through General Practice.

ATAGI statement on revised recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 17 June 2021 (DOWNLOAD)

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