The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has issued updated advice regarding the provision of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.
1. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is now recommended for people aged 60 years and over.
2. People who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse events can safely be given a second dose, including adults aged 50-59 years.
3. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 to 59 years.
4. It is strongly recommended all adults are vaccinated against COVID-19.
ATAGI has recommended this change in advice due to a higher risk of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) observed in the 50-59 year old age group in Australia following the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, than initially estimated or reported internationally.
The Northern Territory Government supports ATAGI’s recommendations and is working to implement this advice immediately.
NT Health has contacted all of its AstraZeneca clinics and is only cancelling appointments for those people aged 50-59 years booked in to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
There will be many people aged 50-59 years who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and they are strongly encouraged to attend their appointment for their second dose as planned.
This is in line with expert medical advice advising the risk of any serious adverse events associated with a second dose to be very low. Data in the United Kingdom also shows there has been 23 cases of blood clotting in 15.7 million people after receiving their second AstraZeneca dose.
Text messages are being sent to all people aged 50-59 years who are booked in to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a NT Health clinic, advising them of the change in medical advice.
The online booking form on the NT COVID-19 website has also been updated to reflect the change in medical advice. Due to high demand and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are currently no appointments available for the Pfizer vaccine in the Greater Darwin region until early July 2021. Some Pfizer vaccine appointments are still available in the other regional centres across the NT.
The Northern Territory is expecting an increase in the allocation of the Pfizer vaccine throughout July and more appointments will become available at this time.