The Australian government is guiding against giving AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine to people under the age of 50 amid warnings of a link to a rare type of blood clots.
In line with expert health advice, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the government now preferred the Pfizer vaccine for the under 50s.
A first dose of the AstraZeneca shot should only be given to adults under 50 where the benefit clearly outweighs the risk, he said. People in that age group who have had their first dose without complications can be given their second shot.
The guidance comes after the European Medicines Agency found a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clotting issues. The U.K. is now advising that those under the age of 30 be offered an alternative vaccine if one is available.
Australia’s Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy stressed that clots were “a very, very rare event” and Australia was taking a “highly precautionary position.” The advice may impact the vaccine rollout in Australia, which had planned for everyone to receive their first shot by October.