Vaccine rollout: Where do I go and how do I book in?

Confusion as Qld gives out wrong vax advice

 

THE Queensland Government sparked mass confusion after contradicting pre-existing Commonwealth health advice and calling for people with a history of anaphylaxis to delay getting the COVID-19 jab at a critical stage of the rollout.

On the first day the public could book their own vaccine appointments, Queenslanders were given conflicting advice over seven hours on the AstraZeneca jab with the nation's top medical experts forced to clarify its safety before the state government eventually backflipped.

At 10.30am Yvette D'Ath announced "precautionary measures" that people who had anaphylaxis should delay getting vaccinated after four cases of anaphylactic shock in 48 hours.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Liam Kidston
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Liam Kidston

But just two hours later The Therapeutic Goods Administration and Federal Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy urged people not to delay, with it being a known reaction in any type of vaccine for people with a history of anaphylaxis.

By 5.18pm Queensland Health said it had "updated its advice" following a meeting between the TGA and Chief Health officer Jeannette Young, who was already in Canberra for unrelated vaccine talks.

Advice regarding the potential reaction, and the need for a longer observation period, had already been provided to states and was available publicly online from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation since mid-February.

There had also been 15 similar reactions already occur across the country, with no deaths and adrenaline administered to mitigate the effects, including 14 with the Pfizer vaccine and one with AstraZeneca.

While the reaction is extremely rare it is known to happen from any vaccine to people with a history of anaphylactic shock, and not specifically COVID-19 jabs.

 

 

Four cases of anaphylactic shock in 48 hours sparked Health Minister Yvette D'Ath to urge people with a history of the reaction to delay getting vaccinated, despite not having received advice back from drug regulator.

The incidents occurred at vaccination clinics in Bundaberg, Toowoomba and Ipswich, with all four cases occurring in people with a history of severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis and within 30 minutes of receiving the jab.

The existing clinical advice for people being vaccinated have a history of severe allergic reactions was to remain under observation for 30 minutes after getting the dose.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Queensland Health Director General John Wakefield said people with a history of anaphylaxis or allergies should "hold off" getting the vaccine or consider their own circumstances, with Ms D'Ath giving the same advice.

"We are putting in place precautionary measures that anyone who's got a severe allergic reaction in the past … that they delay getting the vaccine or alternatively we will be observing them for longer," she said.

Dr Wakefield said investigations would assess whether the reactions resulted from a bad batch of the vaccine and the advice was to ensure "absolute transparency" about the rollout.

Prof Murphy even advised that the reaction was known to happen in any vaccine, not just COVID-19 jabs.

 

"If people are eligible at present and have a history of anaphylaxis we recommend … that they should not delay vaccination, but they should discuss their vaccination with their doctor," Prof Murphy said.

"They should be vaccinated in a clinical setting where they can be observed for 30 minutes under medical supervision."

The normal amount of time people are asked to wait for observation after receiving the jab is 15 minutes.

TGA boss John Skerritt said the reaction was not specific to COVID vaccines.

"Any medicine or vaccine in a very small number of people can cause this anaphylactic reaction (if they have a history)," Prof Skerritt said.

"There appears to be a cluster in Queensland. Clusters happen. It isn't something special about what's happening in Queensland."

Prof Murphy said the batches had been tested, and used all across the country, and were fine. He said just one in ten per million people had an anaphylactic reaction to any vaccine.

A Queensland Health spokesman last night said it updated its guidelines again, following further advice from the TGA.

"Safety is, and must be, our first priority," he said.

"The AstraZeneca vaccine will continue to be administered as per the TGA and ATAGI guidelines."

Ironically, Ms D'Ath had urged people to "listen to the clinical experts" about the rollout.

"It is extremely risky to be going out there and questioning the efficacy of this vaccine, it's irresponsible and it shouldn't be done," she said.

Meanwhile, there were six new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, with all detected in hotel quarantine.

There are 41 active cases in Queensland.

About 428 close contacts of the doctor from the Princess Alexandra Hospital have been tested, with 77 per cent of results showing negative test results.

Close contacts of cases in the Hotel Grand Chancellor have also tested negative so far.

Ms D'Ath said Queensland was keeping a "watching brief" on the COVID-19 situation in New South Wales and urged anyone who recently travelled to the state to check the NSW Health site and follow protocols.

 

 

Originally published as Confusion as Qld gives out wrong vax advice

 



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