Under-40s in Albany put their hands up for AstraZeneca vaccine despite mixed messages

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Pioneer Health's Dr James Turner with a vial of Covid 19 vaccine.
Camera IconPioneer Health's Dr James Turner with a vial of Covid 19 vaccine. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Albany under-40s are taking the chance to have their AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine despite mixed messages from political leaders.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine would be available to under-40s, dependant on a discussion with their GP.

Before the announcement, no vaccine had been available to the general public in the younger age category, with the preferred vaccine for the age group — Pfizer — only available to over-40s.

But two days later, Premier Mark McGowan contradicted the Prime Minister, advising West Australians that those under 60 should not be asking their GP for AstraZeneca because of blood clotting risks.

“I can only advise what I’ve been advised by our chief health officer, our health officials and indeed the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation,” he said last week.

Pioneer Health GP James Turner said despite the mixed messages, the Albany clinic had been taking AstraZeneca bookings from the younger age groups.

“It’s not recommended as a preferred vaccine for people under 60 because of that rare clotting complication, which is well publicised,” he said.

“We are providing both vaccines, we are just not able to give the Pfizer to under 40s at the moment because there is a supply issue.

“However, there may be reasons that people elect not to wait until a Pfizer vaccine becomes available to them maybe in October, and would prefer to get vaccinated and accept the risk. As long as they are aware of the risks and the benefits, and accept their own personal situation carefully, they can make an informed choice to accept that risk for the purpose of being protected with the vaccine.”

Dr Turner said GPs would help younger people make an informed decision.

“That’s what we do all the time with healthcare, it is the same consideration all the time so we are used to helping people arrive at a decision.

“At the end of the day it is a personal choice.”

Before the blood clotting complications were known, Dr Turner had the AstraZeneca jab.

“I think that if that was the only one available now, I would have it because I am more exposed and the risk is low,” he said.

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