Queensland’s Chief Health Officer says she does not regret advising people aged under 40 to refrain from getting the AstraZeneca jab as the debate on whether young Aussies should access the vaccine intensifies.
Medical advice from the ATAGI has not changed, with AstraZeneca only recommended for Australians aged over 60.
But the Federal Government has given the green light for people under 40 to access the vaccine upon consultation with their GP, a move that has sparked uproar among some state premiers and chief health officers.
Dr Jeanette Young yesterday did not hold back from making her point of view clear about the AstraZeneca eligibility expansion, saying: “I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca”.
“I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn’t die,” she said.
“We’ve had very few deaths due to COVID-19 in Australia in people under the age of 50. Wouldn’t it be terrible that our first 18-year-old in Queensland who dies related to this pandemic died because of the vaccine?”
The chief health officer today said she did not regret her comments as they were “the truth”.
“There is a risk that you can die from one of those rare, and they are rare blood clots, and the younger you are, the more likely it is that it will happen,” she said.
“The risk significantly decreases over the age of 60. But the younger you are, the higher the risk.”
Dr Young has come under fire for saying under 40s should not get the AstraZeneca, instead of following the Federal Government’s stance to “go talk to your GP”.
“I am giving my advice. I am a doctor,” she said.
“I am on the record as supporting vaccination. But I want the right vaccine to go to the right person.”
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said anyone under 40 wanting to get the AstraZeneca vaccine from a Commonwealth hub should get a consultation, similar to getting advice from a GP.
“We want to make sure that anyone going to those Commonwealth sites are going to have the opportunity to talk to a medical physician and be able to have that conversation around informed consent as well,” she said.
Australia is facing a “very serious crisis” amid backlash from the vaccine expansion, strategic health policy consultant Professor Bill Bowtell said.
Professor Bowtell, former adviser to Paul Keating, told Today communication on the vaccine rollout had “broken down” since the accessibility expansion of AstraZeneca.
“I don’t know what’s been going on between the National Cabinet and the ATAGI and the chief health officers’ committees – but clearly something has gone wrong,” he said.