Communication key on changing vaccine advice

The COVID-19 vaccination landscape evolved quickly last week when the Government announced that the Pfizer vaccine was now recommended for people under 50 years.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid held a media conference over the weekend assuring the Australian community that despite the changes to the AstraZeneca roll out, the vaccine remains very safe and effective.  

“The advice around the incredibly rare but serious thrombotic events associated with AstraZeneca vaccination has made decision-making more difficult for those under 50 who are currently eligible for the vaccine,” Dr Khorshid said.   

“Communicating in this rapidly changing environment has been a challenge for the Government, but it is critical for Australia’s future that public confidence in the vaccine program is maintained,” Dr Khorshid said

The AMA has supported the decisions made by independent scientific experts, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to prioritise the Pfizer vaccine over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years. 

“The Federal Government has also accepted this advice. While the changed advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine may seem confusing, and further delays to the rollout are frustrating, Australia is in the very fortunate position of being able to watch and learn from the experiences overseas,” Dr Khorshid said. 

AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy emphasised communication is key to vaccine confidence in an interview with the ABC News Breakfast.

“This is a matter of explaining to patients what the risks versus the benefits are of the vaccine and then the patient can make an informed decision based on that advice,” Dr Moy said.  

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