Albany’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is back in full swing with the over 50s cohort lining up for the jab despite AstraZeneca scepticism, according to Pioneer Health’s Dr James Turner. The discovery of a recent link between the Astra-Zeneca vaccine and blood clotting pumped the brakes on the vaccine rollout across Australia. Dr Turner said it was no different in Albany, with vaccination rates dropping after the blood clot fears emerged. “Initially we had very busy clinics for a couple of weeks, they were fully booked and there was lots of uptake,” he said. “Then of course there was some concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine and we definitely saw the numbers drop off. “The number dropped off quite significantly. “With the recent start of the 50s rollout it has been busy again and we have been fully booked 10 days in advance.” Despite the blood clotting cases, Dr Turner said he considered the AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe for use. “It is reasonable that people need to consider the safety,” he said. “It is safe, it is just a matter of considering a very rare condition which has been widely publicised. “People have got to get their head around a one in 250,000, or five in a million risk, which is a hard thing to do. “Sometimes it helps for people to think things through in terms of other risks that they accept.” He expects the vaccination rate to continue to go in waves. “It has been up and down and I think it will continue to be like that as more people become eligible and weigh out the risks and the benefits as there are more outbreaks close to home,” he said. “People then re-adjust their risk equation and change their mind.” A community outbreak in Perth last month plunged the city into another lockdown. The lockdown had been a reality check for many people, Dr Turner said. “I think if people feel there is very little risk of COVID in their area, then they think they would rather avoid the vaccine,” he said. “That is the risk, because if there is suddenly an outbreak, it happens very quickly and we can’t suddenly vaccinate everyone. “The best thing to consider is that if there is an outbreak in Perth that’s significant or finds its way down to Albany ... how safe do I want to be? “Do I just want to be really careful with social distancing and take the risk, or do I want to get vaccinated?” Dr Turner urged people to call the clinics to arrange their vaccination if they were having trouble with the online booking system.