Kiama Medical Practice is being supplied with Astra Zeneca vaccine and are now vaccinating all adults 18 and over.
Pfizer remains the preferred vaccine for anyone aged under 60, but is in very short supply with long wait times to be vaccinated. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, expert advice has changed (again!) to recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone aged 18 and over if they are unable to access the Pfizer vaccine. With the current high risk situation the benefit of the vaccine in preventing serious infection from COVID-19 is likely to outweigh the small risk of a serious complication from the AstraZeneca vaccine.
If you are considering the AstraZeneca vaccine but are worried about the risks, this document gives a summary of weighing up the risks and benefits of this vaccine, depending on the level of COVID-19 infections in the community.
If you are between the ages of 12 and 59 and meet eligibility criteria, you may be able to have a Pfizer vaccine at a designated Pfizer vaccine clinic. This includes:
Anyone aged 40-59
Healthcare workers, aged care and disability workers
Critical and high risk workers such as emergency services and meat workers
Adults with a disability or significant underlying medical condition and their carers
If you are 60 or over and have certain very specific medical conditions, you are recommended NOT to have the Astra Zeneca vaccine and can book at a designated Pfizer vaccine clinic for a Pfizer vaccine. This includes:
A past history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
A past history of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
A past history of idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal and splenic) venous thrombosis
Anti-phospholipid syndrome with thrombosis
People with contraindications to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, i.e.
Anaphylaxis to a previous dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, or to an ingredient of the vaccine
Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
Other serious adverse events attributed to the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
The following medical conditions do not increase the risk of TTS and are NOT a contraindication to receiving the Astra Zeneca vaccine:
People with a past history of venous thromboembolism in typical sites, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
People with a predisposition to form blood clots, such as those with Factor V Leiden, or other non-immune thrombophilic disorders
People with a family history of clots or clotting conditions
People currently receiving anticoagulant medications
People with a history of ischaemic heart disease or cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
People with a current or past history of thrombocytopenia.
You must not receive this vaccine if you have previously had an allergy to this vaccine or any of its components, in particular polyethylene glycol. If you have had any other previous vaccine reactions or anaphylaxis you will still be able to have the ChAdOx-1S vaccine. For people under 60 and those with a history of heparin induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or splanchnic vein thrombosis are recommended to have the Pfizer vaccine and can register through the government eligibility checker. People with a history of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, strokes and coronary heart disease are not at increased risk of adverse events from the ChAdOx-1S vaccine. Please make an appointment to see your regular doctor if you have any concerns or questions about this.
If you have concerns about the media coverage of vaccine safety, you can find out what Australian experts think about it here.
For more information specifically about the vaccine induced thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, look here.
When you arrive for your vaccine we will need to confirm your identity and check your eligibility for the vaccine.
Due to recent colder weather it may be prudent to wait in your car until your appointment time to avoid prolonged wait times out in the cold. Please wear appropriate clothing to be able to expose your upper arm for your vaccine.
If you are having your first dose you will also need to bring your completed consent form. If you booked your appointment online you will not need to bring a paper consent form with you, as this will have been completed electronically during the booking process.
More serious adverse effects includes TTS, the thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Symptoms of this rare syndrome occur 4 days or more after immunisation and include persistent headache, seizures, stroke like symptoms, abdominal pain, chest pain or swelling of the legs. You can find further information about TTS here
Because this is a new vaccine the health authorities are keeping a close eye on this, and you are encouraged to report even minor side effects. You can report vaccine side effects by calling 1300 134 237 (8am-8pm seven days a week – the NPS MedicineWise Adverse Medicine Events line) or make an online report about vaccine side effects here.
Immunisations including COVID and influenza are uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register at the end of each day. Consumers can obtain an immunisation history statement to prove their vaccination status through
Medicare Online Account through MyGov
Medicare Express Plus app
My Health Record
You can also request your immunisation history by phoning the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809. This will be mailed and can take up to 14 days.