Australia

Question PM can’t answer after ‘rare but serious risk’ for AstraZeneca vaccine

Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledges that it can no longer guarantee that all adults in Australia will be vaccinated by the end of the year. This is a recession that can have a significant impact on border closures and the economy.

After new health advice was issued Thursday night, it will take some time for the Morrison government to resolve to advise people under the age of 50 to consider alternative Pfizer vaccines.

One of the first implications could be not only the deployment schedule, but also the “realignment” of Qantas’ desire to reopen the border from October 31st.

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media_cameraPrime Minister Scott Morrison after a late press conference in Canberra’s Houses of Parliament.Photo: Gary Ramage

At a press conference late at night on Thursday, more than 5,000 words were spoken by the Prime Minister, his health minister, and top bureaucrats to announce new advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But in those thousands of words, the Prime Minister struggled to not answer some of the big questions.

“It’s too early to give an answer to the overall impact at this stage,” the Prime Minister said.

“That is, this must be considered now. The evaluated impacts. And the program has evaluated and readjusted. Once that is complete, we are in a better position to understand those impacts. can do.”

A nurse is handling a COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine vial in Sydney.Photo: Lisa Marie Williams
media_cameraA nurse is handling a COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine vial in Sydney.Photo: Lisa Marie Williams

What does it mean to close the international border?

Again, the Prime Minister said it was too early to give a definitive answer.

“Well, I’ve already answered the first question several times. I don’t suggest doing it again,” the Prime Minister snapped towards the end of the press conference.

Asked if everyone had a rough schedule for vaccination, he cut off the question.

“No, no. No, no. We learned tonight, so I think we have to spend some time assessing the impact on the program.

“Once we can do that, we may be able to form a view. But I don’t think everyone should expect it right away. This will take some time to resolve the impact. “

Fortunately, we remain one of the safest COVID-19 infected countries in the world compared to many other parts of the world.

Australians may live in “golden cages,” but unlike London and the United States, life is generally back to normal.

“The basic protection currently in place in Australia on how we have suppressed COVID is very important, and Australians live very differently from people in other countries,” he said. Stated.

However, there is no doubt that the government’s very cautious approach to the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine can have a significant impact on the economy.

As the Prime Minister himself claimed earlier in the day, there are many other medications, including contraceptives, which make the risk of blood clots much higher.

So why do experts oppose the provision of vaccines that are safe and effective until the age of fifty? The simple explanation is that it comes down to a balance of risk.

If the risk of death from COVID-19 is very low, is it worth providing a vaccine with a (rare) risk of fatal blood clots?

Not everyone agrees where the government has landed, and experts emphasize that the advice not to use the AZ vaccine under the age of 50 is not an order, but just official advice.

If you want to take a well-informed risk, you can opt for vaccination.

“A key principle in managing the COVID-19 pandemic has always been to make decisions based on expert medical advice,” said the Prime Minister.

“It wasn’t our habit to jump into the shadows. It wasn’t our habit to take unnecessary precautions.”

Official advice currently recommends the following: At this time, Pfizer vaccines are preferred over AstraZeneca vaccines for adults under the age of 50 who have not received the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Minister of Health Greg Hunt.Photo: Sam Mooy
media_cameraMinister of Health Greg Hunt.Photo: Sam Mooy

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said that this increases the risk of age-related complications from COVID-19, thus increasing the benefits of vaccination, and the potentially low but zero of this rare event associated with age. He said it is based on both no risks.

The second recommendation is that vaccination providers should give the first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only to adults under the age of 50 whose benefits clearly outweigh the risks of their individual situation.

The third recommendation is that a person who receives a first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca without a serious adverse event can safely receive a second dose.

This includes adults under the age of 50 and should not be given a second dose to those who develop blood clots associated with lower platelet levels after the first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca.

“What does this mean for the program? For Phase 1, which is vulnerable people, we will continue almost as it is,” said Brendan Murphy, Executive Director of the Department of Health.

“People over 70 and over 80 continue to win AstraZeneca in the GP and are confident in its effectiveness and safety. For healthcare professionals under 50, Pfizer will be a priority. However, it is the only phase that can be delayed for a particular phase of 1b. Importantly, all vulnerable people, those who are vulnerable to serious COVID, It means that it will be covered by the middle of the year, as we planned. “

“Obviously, when we move to a wider and younger population later, we need to re-prioritize and readjust Pfizer for young people. We are currently reviewing all the vaccines we have purchased. “

Australia is still expecting 51 million Novavax later this year and is considering whether other vaccines can be advanced.

This year, Pfizer promised 20 million doses, enough to immunize 10 million people with two hits. But so far, the dose is only about 1 million times.

However, the Morrison government needs an estimated 12 million doses to vaccinate anyone under the age of 50.

Health Minister Greg Hunt does not reveal when and where Pfizer doses come from.

“For security reasons, we haven’t identified a particular source,” he said.

And along with that, the Prime Minister, his health minister, and the country’s most senior health adviser ended the midnight press conference with the sound of a flashing camera.

Thursday night, AstraZeneca said: “We respect the decision of the Australian Government to recommend AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 50, based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) on vaccination.

“AstraZeneca is actively working with regulatory and expert advisory groups around the world, such as Australia’s TGA and ATAGI, to explain these very rare events in individual cases, epidemiology and possible mechanisms. I understand.

“The current situation in Australia with very little or no community infection of COVID-19 is a factor in this updated recommendation from ATAGI, and the risk-benefit assessment of the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Keep in mind their view that it is possible. Australia is different from other countries, such as those where the infection is widespread. “

Initially published as follows Vaccine question PM cannot be answered

Place of originQuestion PM can’t answer after ‘rare but serious risk’ for AstraZeneca vaccine

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