NCWQ Health Advisor Report: May 2021

COVID Vaccination in Australia - NCWQ Health Adviser's Report

COVID Vaccination in Australia
By Dr Kathryn Mainstone, NCWQ Medical Adviser

Should I have the AstraZeneca vaccination in Australia?

Ultimately, it comes down to risk. When I went to get my vaccination, I realized that I could contract the Thrombosis with Thrombocytopaenia Syndrome ( TTS ) from the AstraZeneca vaccination but that only occurred 1 in every 40 000 people of my age. My risk of ending up in ICU with COVID, even at low circulation, was over twice as much but at higher circulation, such as in the UK population, it was even higher, at 6.5 in 100 000.

That does not look into the risk of having to endure Long COVID, a side-effect that affects one third of people who suffer from COVID, even minor cases. Such people suffer from fatigue, headaches, unclear thinking, myalgia, chest pains and breathlessness for months after the illness and in some cases have been left incapacitated to work.

I am more likely to die from driving my car than I am from having the AstraZeneca vaccination but I will not stop driving because of this.

Public Health England has recently brought out a study looking at 50 000 UK residents aged over 70 who died within 28 days of receiving their first AstraZeneca vaccination. It found that AstraZeneca was approximately 80% effective at preventing deaths in this age group after having only the first vaccination. Real-world data from the UK and Israel had shown similar a comparable effect from Pfizer vaccination.

There have now been 18 cases of TTS diagnosed in Australia but because of the widespread media coverage, patients have been sent to hospital and had the right treatment given (immunosuppressants and using newer anticoagulants, avoiding heparin ). Only one case has died of the syndrome thus far.

So, it seems very, very unlikely that you will get TTS and even if you did, very unlikely that you will die of it. The risk of getting COVID from the community appears to be far more likely, if there is an outbreak from our quarantine hubs. Thus far, it has been very fortunate that such outbreaks have been quickly picked up and dealt with, and there is no guarantee that this will continue to be the case.

Ultimately, it does all come down to risk and each person must look at the numbers and work it out for themselves. I know what my family and I decided…





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