The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) held a meeting this afternoon to reconsider its advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine, recommended for older Australians aged over 60.
In a statement, ATAGI said the panel “continues to review its advice around AstraZeneca, along with updating materials and advice for health practitioners”. The advisory group is also considering the advice on the recommended waiting period before taking the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Previously, a period between 8 and 12 weeks was recommended before having the second dose of AstraZeneca.
Over the weekend, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant urged those eligible for a second AstraZeneca dose to consider having it at the six-week mark to provide increased protection during the growing outbreak in Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier today urged residents aged between 40 and 60 to book a vaccination appointment. Now the rollout is being expanded to available at pharmacies and three more NSW Health vaccination centers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the escalating COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney could change the risk profile for people taking the AstraZeneca vaccine – and therefore, the advice ATAGI provides to the government.
“Where the balance of risk changes, i.e., like when you’ve got an outbreak like what we’re seeing in Sydney at the moment,” he told Sky News. “Because of the very low incidence of the cases that involve those complications – and quite serious ones of scarce circumstances that the balance or risk tips for having the vaccine.