New tool for vaccine risk

A national group of Australian COVID-19 experts are launching a new online tool for GPs and patients to measure individual vaccine risk – incorporating the latest scientific studies on associated risks such as thrombosis, and vaccination cover.

The COVID-19 Risk Calculator (CoRiCal) project – led by Flinders University Associate Professor John Litt, University of Queensland virologist Dr Kirsty Short and Victorian GP Dr Andrew Baird – will help people understand their risk factors for COVID-19 infection and vaccination.

Collaborators from the Immunisation Coalition and relevant Australian research areas aim to deliver an easy-to-use, accessible and accurate online tool to support GPs and community members in their discussions about the benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccines.

Associate Professor John Litt, who is part of the Australian Immunisation Coalition Scientific Advisory Committee.

Flinders University Associate Professor Litt, from the College of Medicine and Public Health, says the respective mRNA COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, and uncommon complication of myocarditis, will be launched separately after the first pilot on individual patient risk profile and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“GPs are spending a lot of time trying to explain the risks of COVID-19 and the various vaccines to their patients,” says Dr Litt, who is a member of the Immunisation Coalition Scientific Advisory Committee.

“An accurate, evidence-based tool that is transparent and unaligned with professional groups should help GPs in their task of facilitating COVID vaccination in their patients.”

The CoRiCal program, compiled by a multi-disciplinary research team of GPs, medical scientists, statisticians, public health physicians, and epidemiologists to bring the global data collection to one useful portal, will not only save GPs and medical professionals’ time but create an accurate assessment of an individual’s risk of COVID-19 or one of the vaccines.

University of Queensland virologist Dr Short says “the new online tool is designed to help people make an informed decision around vaccination based on their current circumstance and also see their risk for getting COVID-19 under different transmission scenarios”.

“This tool is really designed to help people make an informed decision around vaccination based on their current circumstances and also see their risk for getting COVID-19 under different transmission scenarios,” she says.

“Users can access the tool and input their age, sex, community transmission and vaccination status to find out their personalised risk calculation,” Dr Short says.

“For example, you can find out your chance of being infected with COVID-19 versus your chance of dying from the disease. You can also find out your chance of developing an atypical blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine and see this data in the context of other relatable risks – like getting struck by lightning or winning OzLotto.”

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