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AstraZeneca vaccine not recommended to Australians under 50

The Australian Government names Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for adults under 50, following AstraZeneca blood clot concerns.

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout suffers a huge setback after under 50s are told to avoid the AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns of blood clotting risks. Following advice from the European Union’s medical regulator that blood clots were a “very rare” side effect from the AstraZeneca vaccine, the federal government’s expert medical team has met to consider the use of the vaccine. 

Scott Morrison has said that the national vaccination plan will need to be reworked, following the decision for under-50s to avoid the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Prime Minister explained, he could no longer guarantee that all Australians would receive their first jab by the end of the year, following this advice.

Pfizer Vaccine
Image: The Times of Israel

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly made the announcement, stating: “immunisation providers should only give a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under 50 years of age where benefit clearly outweighs the risk for that individual’s circumstances.”

Professor Kelly strongly emphasised that AstraZeneca’s link to blood clots was a very rare, but serious concern. “At the moment, it seems to be around 4 to 6 per million doses of vaccine,” he said.

Scott Morrison (bravely) compared the rare side effect of blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine to the same side effect of the combined oral contraceptive pill. He explained that the vaccine had a much lower risk of blood clotting, compared to the contraceptive pill.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently the only vaccine being produced in Australia and was meant to be the backbone in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. The government had ordered 54 million doses of the vaccine, the vast majority being by CSL in Melbourne.

The problem now is having to buy more (an already tight supply) of the Pfizer vaccine and have it shipped to Australia. Consequently, it is unsure of whether or even if at all, all Australians will be receiving their first vaccine dose by the end of the year.

So far during the rollout in Australia, it has only been reported that one person, a 44-year-old man has developed blood clots after receiving his dose of the vaccine.