It’s been properly documented that there’s a big degree of vaccine hesitancy within the Australian neighborhood in the intervening time. This seems to be a selected challenge amongst adults over 50 in regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine, for which this group is now eligible.
Hesitancy over the AstraZeneca vaccine, more likely to be stemming largely from the very small danger of blood clots, is main some folks to ask: can’t I simply wait and get the Pfizer vaccine later?
It didn’t assist issues when federal well being minister Greg Hunt mentioned yesterday there shall be sufficient provide of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) later within the 12 months for anybody involved concerning the AstraZeneca shot. Hunt has since pedalled again on his remarks.
Regardless of the blended messaging, you shouldn’t look ahead to a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine later. There are a number of advantages to getting the AstraZeneca jab now.
Desirous about the blood clot danger
Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), an uncommon blood clotting dysfunction, has been related to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It’s necessary to stress it’s not unreasonable to have considerations concerning the danger of a doubtlessly severe facet impact from the AstraZeneca vaccine, or some other vaccine. The problem is in understanding the magnitude of this danger, placing this danger into perspective, after which weighing up the dangers versus the advantages earlier than making a choice.
The issue is your mind performs quite a lot of methods on you once you attempt to make sense of dangers like this. For instance, we tend to understand the dangers of very uncommon opposed outcomes (similar to TTS) as being higher than they’re.
We additionally are usually extra involved about adverse penalties which will come up because of our actions than our inactions. That’s, we’re typically extra anxious a few potential opposed end result from taking a vaccine than any opposed end result which will consequence from not taking it. This in fact isn’t logical, however is one other one of many errors we make in processing dangers.
I am over 50 and may now get my COVID vaccine. Is the AstraZeneca vaccine secure? Does it work? What else do I must know?
By way of assessing the chance of TTS related to the AstraZeneca vaccine for over 50s, we’ve all the time identified the chance could be very low.
In Australia it’s estimated this syndrome happens in six per million folks vaccinated, on common, with the chance even decrease for these over 50. That is about the identical as your danger of significant harm from being struck by lightning in a 12 months in Australia.
Importantly, as we’ve acquired higher at detecting and treating this situation, the probability of extreme outcomes from TTS have come down significantly. So the uncommon danger of significant sickness from this syndrome seems to be even rarer than we first thought.
To place TTS into perspective, it’s additionally helpful to notice we see round 50 blood clots unrelated to TTS daily in Australia.
Weighing the dangers in opposition to the advantages
The advantages of getting the AstraZeneca vaccine are appreciable for over 50s, from each a person and a neighborhood perspective.
When opting to get a vaccine, you’re defending your self in opposition to the long run danger of an infection and potential extreme sickness. For over 50s who contract COVID the chance of extreme sickness and loss of life could be very actual. We’re additionally studying many individuals who get COVID-19 undergo with ongoing and typically debilitating signs, a phenomenon known as “lengthy COVID”.
One other issue which can be driving hesitancy across the AstraZeneca vaccine is the notion the Pfizer vaccine works higher. However the newest information recommend any distinction within the efficiency of those vaccines could also be smaller than we initially believed.
Though part 3 scientific trial information indicated the AstraZeneca vaccine had an efficacy of round 70%, new real-world information from the UK tells us it may very well be as a lot as 85%-90% efficient in defending in opposition to symptomatic COVID-19.
That is optimistic information and never far off the 95% determine for the Pfizer vaccine seen in scientific trials and in the true world.
And other than successfully defending in opposition to extreme sickness and loss of life from the unique pressure, the AstraZeneca vaccine seems to work virtually as properly in defending in opposition to extra extreme outcomes for variants of concern, such because the UK variant. Early indicators additionally recommend the vaccine is working fairly properly to scale back transmission of the virus.
It’s additionally necessary to know — and this is applicable to all age teams — that we’re getting vaccinated for the well being of the neighborhood as an entire.
Though a substantial amount of the success or failure of the vaccination program has been framed by way of reaching herd immunity, we don’t want to succeed in a sure threshold for the neighborhood to reap advantages. Each vaccine delivered makes a distinction because the higher the proportion of the inhabitants vaccinated, the tougher it’s for the virus to unfold.
As we’ve seen in Taiwan in latest weeks, being complacent about COVID is flirting with hazard.
Although we don’t have neighborhood transmission of COVID in Australia now, and we could really feel secure and safe on this local weather, we have to keep in mind issues may change in a short time.
A balancing act between advantages and dangers: making sense of the most recent vaccine information
Get the jab
There’s actually no logical cause for somebody over 50 to attend for a substitute for the AstraZeneca vaccine, like Pfizer or Moderna. For those who do select to attend, there’s no assure when any different may be out there, and within the interim you danger leaving your self weak.
By stepping as much as get your vaccine as quickly as you possibly can, you shield your self in opposition to extreme COVID and make a big contribution to placing this pandemic behind us, together with getting Australia nearer to opening up worldwide borders.
Hassan Vally doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.