“The Australian Government places safety above all else, as it has done throughout the pandemic, and will continue to follow the medical advice in protecting Australians,” the spokesperson said.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told the ABC the government places safety “above all else” and will be guided by that advice.
Professor Kelly said there is a “signal” of “extremely rare but serious effects” following COVID-19 vaccination with AstraZeneca, particularly in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“They’re finding about one in 200,000 [people] or five per million, … and about one in four of those are dying,” he said. “At the moment, there are so few cases that it’s hard to make conclusions.“
He said the decisions or recommendations made overseas, regarding younger people and of women being at higher risk, will be brought to the table on Thursday and looked at in the Australian context.
The government will be looking to reassure people that the AstraZeneca vaccine is “very effective and extremely safe for most people”.
“But there is this rare event that appears to be linked with that particular vaccine and people need to be aware of that,” the Chief Medical Officer said.
ATAGI’s latest statement, from Friday, April 2, was that it was not changing its advice on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time.