There’s been a major shake-up to Australia’s vaccine rollout, with the minimum age for the AstraZeneca vaccine raised from 50 to 60.
Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that from today, it will be recommended that the AstraZeneca jab only be given to Australians over the age of 60.
It comes after the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation conducted further investigations into the vaccine before providing the advice to the Federal Government this morning.
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It means Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine for those aged under 60-years-old, with the Federal Government moving to open access to the Pfizer jab for 40 to 59-year-olds immediately.
It’s understood there are around 2.1 million people in that age bracket, who have not yet received the vaccine.
However, Australians who have already received AstraZeneca are being told to continue to get their second shot.
“They have strongly recommended that second doses be completed for all of those who have had AstraZeneca who are under 60 years of age,” Minister Hunt said.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said people should still have faith in the AstraZeneca jab.
“AstraZeneca remains a very effective vaccine, the benefit of AstraZeneca in the over 60s remains much higher than the risk of this particularly rare, but sometimes serious syndrome,” he said.
“So people over 60 should still be rolling up to their GP and get that first dose.”
Professor Kelly echoed Minister Hunt’s statement about people who have already received AstraZeneca continuing to get their second jab.
“Anyone who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca without problem should feel very confident to have their second dose,” Professor Kelly said.
“On the basis of the information we have had in Australia, we have not had a single case of this particular syndrome in a second dose”.