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Govt urges second AstraZeneca jab

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The federal government is calling for Australians under 60 who’ve had their first AstraZeneca jab to get their second dose, after the age limit for the vaccination was lifted in another setback for the nation’s rollout.

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People under 60 will now be offered the Pfizer vaccine after the government’s expert panel on immunisation changed its advice about blood clots linked to AstraZeneca.

Health authorities say the 815,000 Australians who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca should book for their second jab of that vaccine because of dramatically lower risk than the initial shot.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the medical advice for the 50 to 59 year-old age group, who were previously included in the AstraZeneca cohort, was clear.

“If you have had your first dose of AstraZeneca, all the medical advice is to please come forward and have your second dose. It’s exactly what I did,” he told Nine Network on Friday.

“Second doses are absolutely critical and they are fundamentally safe.

“The second doses around the world have an incredibly low rate of incidents associated with them.”

Two people have died from the rare clotting condition with more than 3.8 million AstraZeneca doses administered nationally.

SA Health said on Thursday those between 16 and 59 years old would now be prioritised for the Pfizer vaccine in state-run clinics, but the new advice “doesn’t change who is currently eligible for a COVID vaccine”.

“If you’re 50-59 and booked an appointment at an SA Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic, you can attend your appointment – you will be given the vaccine recommended for you,” SA Health said.

“If you’re booked in at a GP, you will need to reschedule your appointment at a Pfizer vaccination site.

SA Health also noted there is a “high demand” for the Pfizer jab and urged those coming forward for vaccinations to be patient as more will become available next month.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said the government should introduce a longer GP consultation as a Medicare item so people have more time to talk about any concerns.

-with AAP

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