FAQs - AstraZeneca vaccine

Last Updated: 13 Apr 2021 4:21pm

General



Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) made the following recommendations:

  • the use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • immunisation providers should only give a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under 50 years of age where benefit clearly outweighs the risk for that individual's circumstances
  • people that have had their first dose of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca without any serious adverse events can safely be given their second dose.
  • further advice be developed

Although the incidence of serious reactions is very rare, it is important to be aware of them and seek hospital treatment (advising them you have received the AstraZeneca vaccine) if you experience any of the following after your vaccination:

  • neurological symptoms, such as severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • leg swelling
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • shortness of breath
  • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

Reports of these adverse reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccine are extremely rare events – its rate varies from 4 to 6 cases per million doses of vaccine given. Adverse reactions have only occurred within a small time period of between 4-20 days and only after the first dose.

If you have a medical emergency, call 000. If you have an urgent query about vaccinations, please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. GPs will likely receive a lot of calls from concerned patients, so please consider calling the hotline if your query can be answered by someone other than your GP.

Yes. Vaccinations using the Pfizer vaccine will continue as planned and there is no change to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice on the safety of the Pfizer vaccine.

People under 50

Yes. If you have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and have not experienced an adverse reaction then the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice is that it remains safe to receive your second dose. You will be contacted by the Public Health Hotline before your second appointment to make sure you have all the information you need to be confident to receive your second dose.

Yes, if you received your vaccination more than 20 days ago and did not experience any adverse reactions, a reaction now is unlikely. Based on this, the advice remains that it is safe to receive your second dose of the vaccine when it is scheduled.

No. Both doses must be the same vaccine. You can safely have the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine if you did not experience an adverse reaction to the first dose.

If you made a booking for your vaccine with your GP you will be contacted to have your booking put on hold. If you made your booking with a Tasmanian Government Community Clinic you will be contacted by the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline to have your appointment rescheduled.  You will be offered a Pfizer vaccine.

If you received your vaccination more than 20 days ago and have not experienced any adverse reaction at this stage, a reaction now is unlikely. Based on this, the advice remains that it is safe to receive your second dose of the vaccine when it is scheduled.

Serious side effects are extremely rare, but you should keep an eye out for side effects up to 20 days after receiving your vaccine. If you experience any of the following side effects you should seek hospital treatment immediately:

*     neurological symptoms, such as severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision

*     chest pain

*     leg swelling

*     persistent abdominal (belly) pain

*     shortness of breath

*     tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

No. At this stage, the Tasmania Government has put an immediate hold on any first dose AstraZeneca vaccinations of people aged under 50 years. People with existing first dose appointments at community clinics will be contacted directly to discuss rescheduling their appointments. If your appointment is with your GP, they will also put this on hold.

People aged 50 and over

Yes. Current advice is that the AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe for use in people above the 50 year age group.

The current advice is the AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe for use in people above the 50 year age group.

AstraZeneca remains safe and effective for use of Tasmanians who are over 50, this is the strong advice of the expert advisory panel who have examined the adverse events.  You are encouraged to take your first available dose if you are over 50.  The Pfizer Vaccine may be available to you at a later date, but there is no guarantee it will be available to you and you will be waiting some time as the Pfizer vaccine is not being manufactured in Australia.