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Liberal MP Katie Allen slams government health agency

A Liberal MP and former medical researcher has blamed scaremongering on the AstraZeneca jab for vaccine hesitancy among Australians – and singled out a government agency.

Hours after a third Australian’s death was linked to AstraZeneca, Melbourne backbencher Katie Allen slammed the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and also claimed media coverage of the vaccine was creating fear. 

‘I have to say the media has made very clear the side effects of AstraZeneca – they haven’t made clear some of the other side effects of Pfizer in the same way,’ she told the ABC’s Q&A program on Thursday night.

A Liberal MP and former medical researcher has blamed scaremongering on the AstraZeneca jab for vaccine hesitancy among Australians – and singled out a government agency. Hours after a third Australian’s death was linked to AstraZeneca, Melbourne backbencher Katie Allen (pictured) suggested media coverage of the vaccine was creating fear

Many Australians are reluctant to get an AstraZeneca dose and are instead waiting for Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, which is in short supply until at least August.

In June, ATAGI recommended Pfizer instead of AstraZeneca be administered to those under 60.

Two months earlier, it had recommended Pfizer over AstraZeneca for those under 50, just days before a 48-year-old diabetic woman from the Central Coast, north of Sydney, died of a blood clot five days after taking AstraZeneca.

Dr Allen, the federal member for Higgins, was so annoyed about the advice on AstraZeneca she wrote to ATAGI, which makes recommendations to the Department of Health on vaccinates. 

‘I wrote to ATAGI and asked them to review their advice based on the changing situation internationally,’ she said. 

‘I would have preferred that ATAGI said there is risk and warnings but not that you should not say it should not be administered.

‘People understand now they can receive AstraZeneca in these other age categories.’

The risk of those under 50 getting a rare blood clot or TTS (Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome) from an AstraZeneca stands at three in 100,000, ATAGI said.

Many Australians are reluctant to get an AstraZeneca dose and are instead waiting for Pfizer's Covid vaccine, which is in short supply until at least August. In June, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommended Pfizer instead of AstraZeneca be administered to those under 60. Pictured is nurse Annabel Thomas getting a Pfizer vaccine

Many Australians are reluctant to get an AstraZeneca dose and are instead waiting for Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, which is in short supply until at least August. In June, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommended Pfizer instead of AstraZeneca be administered to those under 60. Pictured is nurse Annabel Thomas getting a Pfizer vaccine

Dr Allen said the blood clots were treatable.

‘We know that early on the clots associated with AstraZeneca were being mistreated by doctors. That’s been rectified now,’ she said.

The chance of a young person dying is one in a million.

The third AstraZeneca death was a 61-year-old woman with immune thrombocytopenia, a rare autoimmune bleeding condition, which followed the death of a Melbourne woman, 52.

On June 28, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced doctors would be indemnified if there were side effects from an AstraZeneca vaccine they administered.

Adults of all ages can now get AstraZeneca if they have a consultation with a GP. 

Mr Morrison on Friday urged residents in south-west Sydney who have had AstraZeneca to get their second dose after eight weeks, even though clinical trials had recommended a 12-week gap.

Infectious diseases expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of biosecurity at the University of New South Wales's Kirby Institute, said there was no issue having an earlier AstraZeneca booster shot - even if a three-month gap is recommended

Infectious diseases expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of biosecurity at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, said there was no issue having an earlier AstraZeneca booster shot – even if a three-month gap is recommended

Infectious diseases expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of biosecurity at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, said there was no issue having an earlier AstraZeneca booster shot – even if a three-month gap is recommended.

‘The trials didn’t show great results when it was given at four weeks, but by accident in that trial some people had got it at three months and those people had better protection,’ she told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

‘The label for the vaccine actually says you can give it any time from four to 12 weeks. 

‘So there is no problem with giving it.’

Sydney’s lockdown had been extended for another week until at least July 16, with a heavy police presence in the city’s south-west in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and Fairfield local government areas. 

New South Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday imposed even more stringent lockdown rules banning visitors to homes and a new 10km limit on leaving home for exercise. She argued just 9 per cent of people in NSW were fully vaccinated and flagged letting pharmacists administer it

New South Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday imposed even more stringent lockdown rules banning visitors to homes and a new 10km limit on leaving home for exercise. She argued just 9 per cent of people in NSW were fully vaccinated and flagged letting pharmacists administer it

New South Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday imposed even more stringent lockdown rules banning visitors to homes and a new 10km limit on leaving home for exercise.

She argued just 9 per cent of people in NSW were fully vaccinated and flagged letting pharmacists administer AstraZeneca.

‘We are working hard behind the scenes to make sure we have supply of AstraZeneca,’ she said.

Dr Allen said both Pfizer and AstraZeneca were recommended. 

‘I would say, “Please, go and get vaccinated”,’ she said.

‘Both of them are good at preventing death and that’s the point about this vaccination program.’

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