Government confident over-50s will show up for second AstraZeneca Covid vaccines

The vaccine rollout is continuing. Picture: Karleen Minney
The vaccine rollout is continuing. Picture: Karleen Minney

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is confident Australians who have had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue to show up for the second dose, despite the change in medical advice limiting the use of the vaccine to people aged 60 and over.

He also warned those who had a first dose and were hesitant about getting their second, that without it their first schedule would be considered incomplete.

National cabinet met on Monday for an urgent briefing following the change in advice, but no major adjustment to the vaccine rollout was decided by state and territory leaders and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The states were given projections of how many vaccine doses they could expect to receive throughout 2021, with the government's new boss of the rollout Lieutenant General John Frewen maintaining the "aim" of offering a first vaccine to all Australians by the end of the year.

Since the change in medical advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been reports of people aged above 50, and some above 60, calling GP clinics and cancelling their appointments for the second doses, but Professor Kelly said government data showed most people were intending to get their second dose.


Lieutenant General Frewen didn't say what it would mean for the vaccine rollout if potentially hundreds of thousands of people don't show up for their second dose, but urged them to come forward.

"We are in the enviable position of being able to progress with vaccinations with the appropriate mix of drugs as we go," he said.

"More of other sorts of drugs will become available throughout the year and we will adjust the allocations and cohorts as we go. But right now, I would just encourage people who are eligible to get vaccinated with the drugs that are available."

Lieutenant General Frewen said the government was close to releasing an advertising campaign that would "inspire" Australians to get the jab, but it would only be released when the timing was right.

"We're just working at the moment to manage the commencement of that in line with the supplies available, because we just want to make sure that we don't start the campaign until we're comfortable that we can meet the demand that we hope will be engendered by the campaign."

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This story Government confident over-50s will show up for second AstraZeneca jabs first appeared on The Canberra Times.


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