08 April 2021

Chief Health Officer statement: AstraZeneca vaccine

Tonight, the Commonwealth Government has released new advice on the COVID-19 vaccination program, specifically on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This advice is based on a new recommendation of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), following new information on evidence of a rare but serious side effect of thrombosis in younger people.

The advice states:

  • ATAGI recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer is preferred over COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in adults aged under 50 years.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults aged under 50 years ­– where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. 
  • People who have had the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years. 

Both ATAGI and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to monitor the situation closely.

As Chief Health Officer, I can assure Western Australians that our State vaccination program will immediately be changed to reflect this new advice.

From tomorrow, when clinics reopen across the State, AstraZeneca vaccinations will only be given to people aged 50 years and over.

People under 50 who are booked in to receive their AstraZeneca vaccine will have their appointments cancelled. If you have a booking tomorrow or in coming days, please do not show up for your appointment.

For those people in the 1A and 1B cohorts who are under 50 and have already received their first AstraZeneca vaccine, please do not be alarmed.

The ATAGI advice is that those who have safely received their first AstraZeneca vaccine, will be able to safely receive their second vaccine. You should not cancel your second vaccination booking.

For people who have a current Pfizer vaccine booking, please continue to attend your appointment as booked.

The Department of Health will continue to provide Western Australians with updated information as it becomes available.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases. I ask Western Australians to listen to the health advice and please get vaccinated with the most appropriate vaccine for your age, when you become eligible.

Dr Andrew Robertson
Chief Health Officer

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