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  • Rikki Lambert

NSW resumes vaccinations as Murray MP highlights long delay

NSW briefly stopped giving out the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday morning because of changed health advice but resumed around lunchtime.

NSW has resumed administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 50 and over.

WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said that from Friday, AstraZeneca vaccinations will only be given to those over 50 years old.

NSW will continue to allow eligible under-50s to get the AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday, despite alterations to the national vaccine scheme.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said vaccinations had paused on Friday morning to ensure that clinicians were up-to-date on the latest advice released on Thursday evening.

They resumed around lunchtime, she said. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday AstraZeneca was no longer recommended for under-50s because of an extremely rare but serious blood clot side effect, on advice from health officials.

Younger NSW residents will be able to make their own choices about getting the AstraZeneca vaccine if they're eligible.

Premier Berejiklian said:

"The best health advice that we've received is that it is safe for people to have the AstraZeneca vaccine if they're under 50 years of age.
"However, of course, there is that rare condition that happens very infrequently, and the risk is there, but it's a very low risk." 

The rollout to willing under-50s will continue from next week, once the Commonwealth updates its decision support tools for vaccine workers and Ms Berejiklian said it was "absolutely safe" for anyone who's had the first AstraZeneca dose to have the second.  

Despite the setbacks, the state will forge on in its plans to create mass vaccination hubs and be ready to distribute 60,000 vaccines per week.

"We need to be ready if vaccines become available," the premier said. 

She said supply had been "lumpy" and there was no certainty around how it's working, but that NSW was prepared to help get whatever vaccine the Commonwealth could acquire out to people. 

Australia was relying on AstraZeneca jabs to be the backbone of coronavirus immunisations through 50 million locally produced doses.

Mr Morrison announced on Friday that Australia had secured an extra 20 million doses of Pfizer, taking the total to 40 million. 

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said earlier on Friday the state's long term plans were "resilient to the challenges of transporting and refrigerating Pfizer".

"It is still possible ... to take out the Pfizer vaccine (to vaccination centres), we don't have any major concerns about that.," he said.

NSW plans to open 100 vaccination centres, as well as a major hub at Homebush, in Sydney's west.


NSW Health administered 6228 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to 8pm Thursday, taking the state's total to 140,551.

The state recorded two new COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine for the period.

Ms Berejiklian said the state did not plan to change any restrictions. NSW Health granted the Royal Easter Show an extra 10,000 visitors per day this weekend, taking the daily number to 70,000. 

Meanwhile, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Helen Dalton, who represents the electorate of Murray in the state's southwest, says she has been contacted by a local doctor concerns about the federal government's aged care rollout.

Aged care residents are still waiting for their jabs weeks after they should have gotten them, Griffith GP Elizabeth Dodd wrote in a letter to Mrs Dalton. She said:

"Dr Dodd did the paperwork for my father Glen - an 88-year-old Pioneer Lodge resident - to get the vaccine a full six weeks ago.
"But my dad is still waiting. Dr Dodd has not received any information back from the government. It's a complete farce." 

-- with AAP


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