ATAGI changes Pfizer preference to 59 years and under

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) today recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be preferred for adults aged 59 and under.

Up until 17 June, ATAGI’s advice had been the Pfizer vaccine be preferred for adults aged 49 and under. This was based on evidence related to the incidence of the very rare blood-clotting thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in this age cohort.

AstraZeneca remains recommended for those aged 60 and over based on the much higher risk of illness and death from COVID-19 in this age group, and the lower risk of this condition.

ATAGI also strongly recommends people of all ages who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without serious adverse effects have their second dose of AstraZeneca.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said, ‘The Government places safety above all else, as it has done throughout the pandemic, and will continue to follow the medical advice in protecting Australians.

‘This updated advice received today is based on new evidence demonstrating a higher risk for the very rare TTS condition in the 50–59-year-old age group.’

Mr Hunt said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout would be adjusted as the number of access points for the Pfizer vaccine are expanded.

On the North Coast, the Ballina Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic (CVC) is scheduled to commence administering the Pfizer vaccine this month and will be able to start accepting people aged 40 to 59.

Planning is well underway to increase the number of CVCs able to offer the Pfizer vaccine over the coming weeks. The 6 CVCs in our region are at Murwillumbah, Casino, Yamba, Nambucca Heads, Kempsey and Wauchope.

Twenty local general practices are due to begin administering the Pfizer vaccine from 5 July, with a further 10 commencing on 12 July.

The best way for people to find out when and where they can book a vaccination is by using the online Vaccine Eligibility Checker and clinic finder.

Read Minister Greg Hunt’s 17 June full media release.

Read a statement from ATAGI.

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