Age limit for AstraZeneca jab raised to 60-plus

Jun 17, 2021
The new move will mean that people under 60 will be required to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Source: Getty

Update: Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed the AstraZeneca jab is now recommended for over 60s, meaning those in the 50 to 59 age group will be eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine. He made the announcement in a press conference Thursday afternoon. If you’re under 60 and have already received your first dose of AstraZeneca, Hunt said to proceed with the second dosage despite new guidelines.

“We will have significant volumes of Pfizer coming in over the course of the coming weeks and months, but we do ask for people’s patience on that front,” he said.

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The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is expected to make an announcement today on raising the recommend age for the AstraZeneca vaccine to 60 and over, ABC News reports.

The new move will mean that people under 60 will be required to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently recommended for over-50s.

It comes after health experts on Tuesday called on the Australian government to raise the recommend age for the jab, after a 52-year-old woman died from a blood clot last week.

“It may be time to consider now that we do offer the Pfizer vaccine for the 50 to 59-year-old age group,” Associate Professor Margie Danchin, a clinician who researches vaccine risk perception, said at the time.

“I think in Australia now, with such low rates of Covid disease, the death of a previously well 52-year-old woman definitely asks us to reconsider the age threshold for the recommendation for AstraZeneca vaccine.”

The NSW woman is the second person to die from blood clots likely linked to the vaccine. A 48-year-old woman died from the rare blood clot in April.

Starts at 60 has contacted the ATAGI and Department of Health for confirmation.

The AstraZeneca jab has had a pretty bad rap in recent months, due to blood clot fears. In April, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) confirmed that the vaccine may cause extremely rare but potentially deadly blood clots. As a result, the Australian government said all people under 50 would be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

A few days earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and rare blood-clotting issues in adults, but concluded the risk of dying from Covid-19 is far greater than dying from complications caused by the vaccine.

Denmark was one of the first countries to suspend the vaccine in early March, after the death of a 60-year-old woman, with Nationals Senator Matt Canavan calling for Australia to follow Denmark’s lead.

On March 29, Canada suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 55. The pause came following a recommendation by the country’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), with its vice-chair, Dr Shelley Deeks, saying that given the risks there was “substantial uncertainty” about the benefit of providing the vaccine to those under 55.

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