Queensland's chief health officer is encouraging people aged under 60 to talk to their GPs about getting AstraZeneca after long warning the vaccine is too risky for younger people.
Jeannette Young is currently dealing with the state's most serious COVID-19 threat in a year, with 31 cases linked to an escalating cluster of the Delta variant.
She previously advised younger people not to get AstraZeneca due to an extremely rare and potentially fatal blood clotting disorder linked to the vaccine.
On Monday, when asked if her view had changed given the current level of risk, she said: "It's important that people have that discussion with their GPs.
"That is the advice from ATAGI (the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation). If you are under 60 and you feel particularly concerned go and talk to your GP about whether or not you should be having a dose of AstraZeneca."
In late June, Dr Young and the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk dug in against AstraZeneca after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said anyone under 40 could ask their GP about getting it.
"I do not want under 40s to get AstraZeneca, because they are at increased risk of getting ... that rare clotting syndrome," Dr Young said on June 30.
"I don't want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn't die."
ATAGI had changed its advice to recommend Pfizer for people aged 16 to 60 due to the rare occurrence of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
But ATAGI also said anyone under 60 could still have AstraZeneca vaccine if they chose to do so.
"While TTS is very rare, some people may have concerns that they can discuss with their doctor. This is essential to allow people to make an informed choice about vaccination."
In Sydney ATAGI has advised anyone over the age of 18 to "strongly consider" AstraZeneca due to the outbreak there.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it's important to follow ATAGI's expert advice.
"Clearly the advice is for people to have the discussion about the risks and benefits," she told reporters.
"Everyone has got their personal considerations, they live in different parts of the city, their risk is different, and so for me, it is around informed consent."
The Qld chief health officer disagreed when asked if it was a mistake to have been so unequivocally against younger people having AstraZeneca.
"No. I've been very, very clear and I remain clear," Dr Young said.
"What worries me is if you are 60 years of age or over, and you haven't had an AstraZeneca vaccine, and I've always been crystal clear, they are the people most at risk.
"I remain firm. They need to - as per the ATAGI advice and the TGA advice, and advice if you look around the world - they need to, if they think they have a particular risk, immediately go and talk to their own doctor.
She added: "I said I didn't want 18-year-olds to have AstraZeneca. And I still don't."
Australian Associated Press
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