Expert backs AstraZeneca vaccine despite clot concerns
Queensland infectious disease physician Paul Griffin rolled up his sleeve to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine yesterday dismissing the recent controversy over blood clots.
Describing the vaccine as "safe and effective", Associate Professor Griffin received his first shot after the AstraZeneca jab was given the all clear by the European Medicines Agency.
More than a dozen countries had suspended the vaccine after concerns arose over extremely rare cases of blood clots, despite millions of shots administered worldwide.
But major European governments have resumed their AstraZeneca rollouts after Europe's drug regulator declared the shots to be safe.
"Unfortunately, significant medical events will occur in a proportion of people who are vaccinated but those sorts of events would have occurred anyway, coincidentally, because of the number of people vaccinated," Prof Griffin said.
"We have to be really careful about linking things to the vaccine when there's no evidence for that.
"We had so much good quality clinical trial data and really good data from real world usage. "It was premature for countries to stop using it. There was no justification for any alarm."
Commenting on recent cases of anaphylaxis among Queenslanders given the AstraZeneca jab, Prof Griffin said "there's always a small proportion of people" who will experience a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine.
"The key here is that we're using experienced people to administer these vaccines, there's been specific training on how to manage that to make sure it's being done well," he said.
"While there have been cases of anaphylaxis reported globally and now of course, locally, it's not resulted in any deaths so they've been managed well and those people have recovered."
Prof Griffin described Australia's vaccine rollout as "a complex logistical undertaking".
"I think the Federal Government did an amazing job of securing the vaccine numbers they did when they did," he said.
"I think we're in a very strong position."
The Mater Health Services director of infectious diseases said he had no problem receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, rather than the Pfizer shot, describing both as "close to 100 per cent effective at preventing severe disease".
"I'm glad that I could get that vaccine," Prof Griffin said.
Originally published as Qld expert backs AstraZeneca vaccine despite clot concerns