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Busy time for vaccinations

CHANGES to COVID-19 vaccination recommendations saw Portland District Health (PDH) pivot their vaccination program quickly last week.

The health service completed 150 vaccinations for people qualified to receive them on Friday, using the Astra Zeneca vaccine which had already been supplied.

A further 100 vaccinations using the Astra Zeneca vaccine are expected to take place at PDH this Friday, while on Thursday  the last of the available Pfizer vaccine is delivered as a second shot in the arm for some of the region’s first vaccine recipients.

At this stage, all people receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine in Portland will only be offered the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

PDH COVID vaccination program executive sponsor Claire Holt said the Federal Government’s shift to not recommend the Astra Zeneca vaccine for people aged under 50 from Thursday night had caused about 10 people to delay their vaccination, however PDH were quickly able to fill the extra spaces with people aged over 70.

In fact, they added an extra 30 vaccine recipient to the day’s list.

“As people under 50 come through the door, we talk to them about the risk and the government recommendations but 90 per cent are saying they want to go ahead,” Ms Holt said.

“I don’t think much will change following the announcement. At this stage, most of those getting the vaccine are over 70 and they are still keen to get it.”

The decision to change the recommendation followed European advice that they had found a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults.

Based on European numbers in the under 30 age group, the risk of blood clots is about one in 250,000.

PDH has delivered both Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines since their program started in partnership with the Barwon South West Public Health Unit (run by Barwon Health) on March 1, making it one of the first regional centres in the state to receive the vaccine due to its international port status.

Ms Holt said about 50 per cent of all people being vaccinated had felt unwell and tired for about 24 hours but had quickly recovered.

FULL STORY IN TUESDAY'S OBSERVER

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