The Therapeutic Goods Administration has ruled the death of an Australian woman after taking the AstraZeneca jab is “likely to be linked to vaccination”.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has ruled the death of an Australian woman after taking the AstraZeneca jab is “likely to be linked to vaccination”.

Coronavirus: PM suggests plan to fast-track vaccine rollout

Australians aged 50 and older could be fast-tracked through the coronavirus vaccination program due to copious amounts of locally made AstraZeneca doses that won't be used in younger people, the Prime Minister has said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is set to helm a national cabinet this afternoon, confirmed there are "strong arguments" for bringing forward the vaccine schedule so that those aged 50 to 69 who fall into Phase 2a can be jabbed with AstraZeneca sooner.

The proposal will be discussed at national cabinet.

The main agenda items of national cabinet, which from today will meet biweekly, is the major recalibration of the country's rollout in light of medical advice the AstraZeneca jab could cause rare blood clots in those under 50.

Mr Morrison rejected suggestions bringing forward the rollout would mean the focus will be taken off the most important vulnerable group of people.

"What's becoming clear is that we can actually do both," he said.

"There'll be no lessening of effort on focusing on that most important vulnerable group.

"(We) don't want to see one vaccine that's rolling off the line and going through the approval processes and batch testing, sitting in a fridge.

"If there is someone over 50 and is there and wants to take that vaccine, we'll look at how that can be achieved today and in what kind of timeframe we can commence that process."

It comes after Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday confirmed pharmacists could fast-tracked into Australia's faltering coronavirus vaccine program under a "very compelling" plan being considered by the federal government.

The "fast start pharmacy proposal", put forward by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, would involve activating community pharmacies in regional, rural and remote areas with no access or access to just one GP.



Australia's medical regulator has ruled that the death of a NSW woman following blood clots within days of taking the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab is "likely to be linked to vaccination".

The 48-year-old woman from the Central Coast received the vaccine on the morning of April 8, prior to the decision by the Australian Technical Advisory Group Immunisation (AAGI) and the announcement by Government that the Pfizer vaccine was preferred for patients aged under 50.

It's the third reported case in Australia of a person developing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca shot.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG) met today to review the case and tonight released a statement on its findings.

It noted the case was complicated by the patient's underlying medical conditions, including diabetes.

"In relation to this case, VSIG agreed that the case was consistent with causal association to immunisation although for this patient, anti-PF4 antibodies were absent. Anti PF-4 antibodies which activate platelets have been found in almost all other cases reported internationally of thrombosis (blood clots) with thrombocytopenia (very low platelets) associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine," the VSIG said in a statement.

"Despite the atypical clinical features and the negative antibody test, in the absence of an alternative cause for the clinical syndrome, VSIG believed that a causative link to vaccination should be assumed at this time."



Some laboratory test results from the patient are still pending and an autopsy will be conducted next week.

"Given this is an atypical presentation, should the test results and or the autopsy provide an alternative causation, VSIG would review their decision," VSIG said.

There have been at least 885,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administered in Australia to date, so while numbers are small, three cases of TTS equates to a frequency of 1 in 295,000.

"The overall number of reports received for blood clots following vaccination so far has been no higher than the expected background rate for the more common type of blood clots in Australia. These can occur in around 50 Australians every day separate to vaccination and are not related to the very rare TTS clotting disorder," the VSIG said.



The safety group issued the following health warning for people getting the jab:

Common side effects include fever, sore muscles, tiredness and headache. These usually start within 24 hours of vaccination and last for one to two days. These side effects are expected and are not of concern unless severe or persistent.

The reports of these rare clotting complications have occurred later (between day 4 and 20 after vaccination) and have generally been severe, requiring hospitalisation.

Seek immediate medical attention if, a few days after vaccination, you develop symptoms such as a severe or persistent headache or blurred vision; shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain; unusual skin bruising and/or pinpoint round spots beyond the site of injection.



Originally published as Woman's death 'likely linked to vaccination'

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