2 Australian states urge against under 40s taking AZ vaccine

2 Australian states urge against under 40s taking AZ vaccine



CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Queensland and Western Australia state governments on Wednesday advised people under age 40 not to take the AstraZeneca vaccine because of the risk of a rare blood clotting disorder, despite the Australian government making those shots available to all adults.

The state governments’ advice to those under 40 is based on British government guidelines, while the new federal government’s position acknowledges the scarcity of the Pfizer vaccine and an urgent need to accelerate a slow national rollout.

The disagreement has stoked confusion as around half Australia’s population is locked down in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory due to new clusters, mostly of the delta variant, which is thought to be more contagious.

Australians have a choice of only two vaccines and locally manufactured AstraZeneca is more plentiful.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said younger adults should wait for Pfizer to become available, despite only 5% of all Australians being fully vaccinated.

With only 42 coronavirus cases active in Queensland, AstraZeneca was not worth the risk for younger adults, she said.

“No, I do not want under 40s to get AstraZeneca because they are at increased risk of getting -- it is rare -- but they’re at increased risk of getting that rare clotting syndrome,” Young said.

“I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn’t die,” Young added.

Australia’s adviser on vaccines, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, known as ATAGI, recommends Pfizer for people under 60 because of the clotting risk.

AstraZeneca had been recommended for all adults until a 48-year-old Australian woman died from clotting in April....

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