NSW’s health workers are shunning the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, Minister Brad Hazzard says, with a “70 to 80 percent” drop in vaccinations since blood clot concerns were raised.
Hazzard said there had been a “70 to 80 percent” drop in people turning up for appointments in the past two weeks, after the federal government acted on advice from its expert panel that the Pfizer vaccine should be given to Australians aged under 50.
It was a response to concerns of blood clots potentially linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in very rare cases.
“What we have seen is a fairly dramatic drop off in the number of people in the health system coming forward for the AstraZeneca jab,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
“In fact, we’ve seen approximately 70 to 80 percent less people showing up for their appointments.
“They’re cancelling or not coming.”
Before the federal government’s announcement, 128 health workers got the AstraZeneca jab at a Sydney vaccination hub – but on the same day two weeks later, no one turned up.
Hazzard said he was hoping “that will turn around in the next few weeks”.
It’s understood that approximately 50 percent of health care workers are under the age of 50, but there’s no clear indication of the age of health care workers refusing the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Obviously the announcement by the PM [Scott Morrison] and by [Federal Health] Minister [Greg] Hunt two weeks ago off the back of that expert federal committee has caused a level of concern in the community,” Hazzard said.
“But if our borders were to open we will certainly have to learn to live with the virus and therefore each of us as individuals are going to have to weigh up our own risk in the context of the broader risk of Covid.”
Victorians more enthusiastic
Hazzard said he was concerned people in NSW were more likely to shun the vaccine, because they had been protected from the worst of the pandemic.
“Victorians seem to be still very keen to get the vaccine or a lot keener than we are in New South Wales at the moment,” he said.
“They know once the border opens there are some real issues.”
The Health Minister, who is over 50, has received his first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and said he was looking forward to his second.
Health care workers in NSW are being vaccinated with either Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
All health care workers in regional areas are receiving the AstraZeneca shot, but numbers have not dropped off as sharply as in Greater Sydney.
There are about 50,000 health care workers in NSW who are yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine.