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Tracy Grimshaw makes powerful argument for older Aussies to get AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

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Tracy Grimshaw has made an impassioned plea for over 60s who refuse to get the AstraZeneca vaccine to roll up their sleeves before it’s too late.

Freedom to choose which Covid-19 vaccination you want to receive has been a hot-button political topic Down Under, with older Australians in Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia now given access to the Pfizer jab previously only available to younger people.

But with both vaccines proven to be equally effective, the A Current Affair host sent out a power message to those still holding out for an alternate mRNA dose.

‘For the record I’m 61 and I’ve had AstraZeneca and my heart breaks everyday when I hear the death toll among unvaccinated seniors who’ve had access to a vaccine for months,’ she said.

She asked two of the nation’s leading doctors whether AstraZeneca-wary over 60s are ‘entitled and spoilt’ and if they should just ‘suck it up’ and get what they’re given.

Freedom to choose which Covid-19 vaccination you wish to receive has been a hot-button political topic in Australia with older Australians in Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia now given access to the Pfizer jab. Pictured: A woman receives the AstraZeneca jab in Perth

Freedom to choose which Covid-19 vaccination you wish to receive has been a hot-button political topic in Australia with older Australians in Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia now given access to the Pfizer jab. Pictured: A woman receives the AstraZeneca jab in Perth

‘DON’T DIE WAITING FOR PFIZER’ -TOP DOCTOR REVEALS AZ JAB MAY BE MORE EFFECTIVE

AstraZeneca’s has actually proven to be more effective at keeping people out of hospital and preventing deaths from Covid than other vaccines, a Columbia University study found.

Just 1.52 per cent of people who got two doses of the Oxford-made jab were admitted to wards after they caught the virus, researchers said. And only 0.03 per cent, or one in 3,000, then died from the disease.

But among those who got the Pfizer vaccine 1.99 per cent were hospitalised and 0.15 per cent died after they were infected with the virus.

‘It’s a bit like the captain of the plane is saying that you’re about to crash into the sea and people are currently arguing about which brand of life vest they want to put on,’ the Australian Medical Association’s Dr Chris Moy said.

‘Covid is coming to your door and when it’s there you don’t want to be naked without a vaccine, so do not die waiting for Pfizer.’

Poll

Are those who refuse to get AstraZeneca spoilt?

‘Are AstraZeneca-hesitant over 60s being spoilt and entitled?’ Grimshaw asked.

‘Should over 60s suck it up and just get the vaccine that’s available to them?’

Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, who is in favour of the age group being restricted from mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna due to their limited supply, said he ‘doesn’t think so’.

But he added: ‘Over 60s have been able to get a vaccine for a long time so it’s a choice not to get a vaccine, it’s not an access issue.’

‘Young people have been last in just about every decision in this pandemic. 

‘They weren’t included at the start of the vaccine rollout, they’ve lost jobs, now they’re at home under restrictions and we have an opportunity to vaccinate them with mRNA vaccines.’

Pictured: Infectious disease expert Professor Paul Griffin

Pictured: Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth

Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth (right) believes older Australians should be restricted to AstraZeneca while infectious disease expert Professor Paul Griffin (left) says everyone should have a choice

Tracy Grimshaw asked two of the nation's leading doctors whether older Australians who refuse to get the AstraZeneca jab are 'entitled and spoilt'

Tracy Grimshaw asked two of the nation’s leading doctors whether older Australians who refuse to get the AstraZeneca jab are ‘entitled and spoilt’

What are the chances of dying from a blood clot after AstraZeneca? 

One in 1.9 million people have died from a blood clot after AstraZeneca. 

By comparison, Aussies have a one in 33 chance of dying if they catch Covid-19, a one in 12,000 chance of being struck by lightning and a one in 55 chance of winning the Oz Lotto.

But infectious disease expert Professor Paul Griffin says older Australians should be given a choice.

‘I don’t want to detract from AstraZeneca and how safe and effective it is… but there are clearly people who have been a little bit reluctant to receive that vaccine,’ he said.

‘And if this change (seen by other states) allows more people to get vaccinated then I certainly welcome it.’

Vulnerable over 60s were among the first Down Under to be given access to the British-made jab, but some cohorts of older Australians have refused to roll up their sleeves over fears of extremely rare blood clots.

Although the condition TTS can be an unlikely side effect of the AstraZeneca dose, it’s far less common in over 60s and only proves fatal in about one in 1.9 million cases.

In comparison, about two per cent of all Covid cases across the world prove fatal with older patients at much greater risk.

Pat Farry (pictured with wife Dianne) who is aged over 60 told the program: 'We need to have what we want to have. We live in a free society'

Pat Farry (pictured with wife Dianne) who is aged over 60 told the program: ‘We need to have what we want to have. We live in a free society’

Australians under 40 were among the last group in Australia to have access to vaccines as limited supplies of Pfizer started to trickle in during the past few months.

What are the chances of getting a blood clot? 

Number of people who get blood clots after AstraZeneca per 100,000 people: 

<50 years – 3.1 people

50-59 years – 2.7

60-69 years – 1.4

70-79 years – 1.8

80+ years – 1.9 

The overall case fatality rate in Australia is 3 per cent

Source: Atagi 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation made the drastic decision to restrict AstraZeneca to over 50s after the death of a 48-year-old woman due to complications from blood clots – which were also observed in parts of Europe. 

That advice was then ratcheted up to over 60s with younger people forced to wait months for any protection from the virus.

This was then scrapped when Sydney’s outbreak began in June, with Australians of all ages encouraged to consider the AstraZeneca jab. 

Pat Farry, who is aged over 60, told the program: ‘We need to have what we want to have. We live in a free society.’

His wife Dianne said she feels ‘discriminated’ against because she’s over 59.

‘I was diagnosed with some superficial blood clots in my legs and then in March, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,’ she said.

The rare blood clotting disorder associated with AstraZeneca has been shown to have no connections or relevance to a person’s history of blood clots, meaning they would be no more at risk. 

Even if someone does get one of the clots, it is incredibly survivable and increasingly easy to treat. 

The message from the Australian Medical Association, and from the federal government is 'do not wait'. Pictured: A woman receives the AstraZeneca dose in Melbourne

The message from the Australian Medical Association, and from the federal government is ‘do not wait’. Pictured: A woman receives the AstraZeneca dose in Melbourne

But Peter Jackson, 78, has the same view and also plans to hold out for the Pfizer jab.

‘I don’t want to take the risk with the AstraZeneca one, and the choice has been taken away from me.’

But the message from the Australian Medical Association, and from the federal government is ‘do not wait’. 

AstraZeneca’s has actually proven to be more effective at keeping people out of hospital and preventing deaths from Covid than other vaccines, a Columbia University study found.

Just 1.52 per cent of people who got two doses of the Oxford-made jab were admitted to wards after they caught the virus, researchers said. And only 0.03 per cent, or one in 3,000, died from the disease.

But among those who got the Pfizer vaccine 1.99 per cent were hospitalised and 0.15 per cent died after they were infected with the virus.

‘It’s a bit like the captain of the plane is saying that you’re about to crash into the sea and people are currently arguing about which brand of life vest they want to put on,’ the AMA’s Dr Chris Moy said.

‘Covid is coming to your door and when it’s there you don’t want to be naked without a vaccine, so do not die waiting for Pfizer.’



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