Australia's advisory body on vaccines is calling on people in outbreak areas to get their second jab as soon as possible, and has strongly reinforced its recommendation that the benefits of vaccination with AstraZeneca outweigh the risks of adverse effects in over 60s.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has reiterated that vaccinating this older age group is essential in the context of the highly infectious Delta variant outbreak, as is the case right now in Greater Sydney.
As such, ATAGI is urging those who received their first dose of AstraZeneca to contact their vaccine provider and receive a second dose as soon as possible.
The advisory group has also called for a shorter interval between the first and second doses of AstraZeneca when outbreaks occur, from the standard guidance of 4-12 weeks, down to 4-8 weeks.
In circumstances where the supply of Comirnaty (Pfizer) is constrained, adults younger than 60 who do not have immediate access to the vaccine should re-assess the benefits of being vaccinated against the rare risk of serious side effects.
The advisory group also reinforces that any person who receives the vaccine should be provided with information about the common and rare side effects, including symptoms and signs of the thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
It has also been recommended that any additional unallocated supplies of both vaccines (AstraZeneca and Pfizer) should be prioritized to populations and areas of greatest risk of COVID-19.
Currently, recommendations around the use of Pfizer in non-outbreak settings remain unchanged.
Updated at 4.00pm AEST on 13 July 2021.
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