She said people’s reaction to the potential clotting link would depend on their current willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
A large majority of Australians have said they are happy to get the vaccine. Professor Leake said many of those would understand there is a risk involved and know the chances of an adverse reaction were very slim.
“Medicine brings risk, people recognise that,” she said.
“They’re willing to take the risk for the benefits, they may also see the responsiveness of the system to these events which would give them greater confidence.”
It’s the people who are already not sure about getting the vaccine who may become less likely to want it, she said.
“As this news filters through, there will be some people whose existing safety concerns are intensified.”
Associate Professor Holly Seale from UNSW said it was important that people were given as much information as possible in clear and easy-to-understand ways.
“That is the challenge at the moment, making sure all the resources are there for people’s information needs.”
Professor Kidd said on Monday that the number of cases of blood clotting overseas was about one or two people per every million who get the vaccine.
In contrast, he said that the risk of death from COVID-19 remained at one to two deaths per 100 people infected.
“There will be inevitably more cases of community transmission, especially when our nation starts to open up further to the rest of the world,” he said.
“We need to continue to protect our population through our voluntary vaccination program and through the public health measures which have been in place throughout the pandemic.”
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Tom Cowie is a journalist at The Age covering general news.