ABC News: ATAGI have told the Prime Minister to pull back on the AstraZeneca vaccine for under 50s and use Pfizer, but who are they?

The Australian Government’s recent decision to amend Australia’s vaccine program was based on the recommendation provided by ATAGI, following international evidence linking a rare blood-clotting condition to the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people.

ATAGI is the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and advises the Minister for Health on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and other immunisation issues, including immunisation research and immunisation policies, procedures and vaccine safety.  Comprising 14 medical experts, the group is co-chaired by Associate Professor Christopher Blyth, a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases, and Professor Allen Cheng, who specialises in epidemiology and public health.

This article summarises the role of ATAGI, including their recent recommendations to the Government regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine.

To read more follow the link below:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-08/who-are-atagi-why-scott-orrison-listens-to-them-covid-vaccines/100057282

For more information on ATAGI, please refer to the link below:

https://mvec.mcri.edu.au/references/atagi-australian-technical-advisory-group-on-immunisation/


The Age: AstraZeneca decision adds to need for vaccine rollout clarity

On Thursday evening, the Australian Government made amendments to Australia’s vaccine program based on international evidence linking a rare blood-clotting condition to the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people, with Pfizer now being the preferred vaccine for people under the age of 50.

The Australian government has chosen not to be definitive in their advice; instead they have left the choice regarding which vaccine should be administered to individual Australians in consultation with their GP. The AstraZeneca vaccine will still be available for people under the age of 50 on a case-by-case basis, with vaccinations of elderly Australians continuing as planned.

As evidenced by these recent changes, providing timely, factual and transparent information – even if this information does not include clear rules or definitive advice – remains paramount in ensuring public trust in the Australian vaccination program.

To read more follow the link below:

The Age: AstraZeneca decision adds to need for vaccine rollout clarity


The Age: Victorian hospitals search for rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca

Victorian hospitals are retrospectively reviewing patient records to determine if there have been further cases of patients presenting with a rare blood clotting disorder, temporally associated with the administration of COVID-19 AstraZeneca. A 44 year old health care worker in Victoria recently presented with abdominal pain, low platelet count and thrombosis, 12 days after being immunised. This follows reports of similar cases internationally where investigations by medical regulators are ongoing.

Professor Jim Buttery from SAEFVIC (Victoria's vaccine safety service) suggests that it is unlikely that there would be many undetected cases due to the clotting disorder being so rare.

The TGA and ATAGI have recommended the continued rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine whilst investigations continue, and considers the benefit of vaccination outweighs any potential risks. ATAGI has urged anyone receiving COVID-19 AstraZeneca to be on alert for severe persistent headaches that are not resolved with over the counter pain relief. Health care professionals are advised that the threshold for reporting adverse events is low, with all serious adverse events thoroughly reviewed by an expert panel.

To read more follow the link below:

The Age: Victorian hospitals search for rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca

 

 


CVU mini event 12th April 2021 - Registrations closing soon

Our next Clinical Vaccinology Update (CVU) mini event: Hot topics in vaccine science, will be held virtually on Monday 12th April, 2021 at 7pm AEST.

To view the full program and to register for this FREE event, please visit our Events page.

A recording of Hot topics in vaccine science will be available on our Education Portal following the event.


TGA: AstraZeneca ChAdOx1-S COVID-19 vaccine

The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association) have provided an update regarding the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in light of preliminary reviews by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), regarding the risk of blood clots in people who have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The findings of these reviews are that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks. The EMA’s safety meeting noted that the number of people with blood clots in large clinical trials and who have received the vaccine in global rollouts were less than is expected in the general population. 20 million people have received the vaccine in Europe and several more million in other parts of the world.

They noted there have been a very small amount of people who have experienced very rare clotting conditions – disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) with thrombocytopenia; and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CSVT). A causal link with the vaccine has not been established and these conditions are also seen in the general population.

Both the EMA and the MHRA are continuing to review cases of these rare clotting conditions.

The TGA has not received any reports of blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia (as of 18 March 2021) and advise people to continue to receive the vaccine when eligible. Monitoring of the safety of this vaccine will continue and if there are any safety concerns these will be communicated to the public.

Please refer to the full alert below for more information:

TGA: AstraZeneca ChAdOx1-S COVID-19 vaccine


Registrations now open for the April CVU mini event

The next Clinical Vaccinology Update (CVU) miniseries event, Hot Topics in Vaccine Science, will be held virtually on Monday 12th April 2021.

We are excited to welcome our panel who will be presenting on COVID-19 vaccine allergy and rollout, influenza vaccines for 2021, as well as an update of the Novovax NVX-CoV2373 vaccine candidate.

A full program of this free event can be found via our Events page and the link below:

CVU mini: April 12th 2021


A recording of the March CVU mini is now available

Thank you to all who attended our recent CVU miniseries event COVID-19 vaccines: Engagement, Communication and Safety on 9th March 2021.

Presentation topics included COVID-19 vaccine stakeholder engagement and participation, vaccine communication and hesitancy, and an update on the Victorian Specialist Immunisation Service (VicSIS) and international vaccine safety.

A free recording of this event is now available via our education portal.

To access this recording please follow the link below:

CVU mini - 9th March 2021


Save the date for our April CVU mini event: Monday 12 April 2021

MVEC invites you to Save the Date for our next CVU mini!

Date: Monday 12 April, 2021
Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm AEST

Further details and registration information will be available soon on our Events page and Education Portal.

To keep up to date with our latest news, including upcoming events, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


Incidents after vaccination with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

Following reports of 2 temporally associated severe adverse events following immunisation (AEFI), the Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (the national regulatory body for medicines) have halted the supply and distribution of a specific batch of COVID-19 AstraZeneca.

It is important to note that data from clinical trials shows no evidence of a casual relationship and this halt is being utilised as a precautionary measure only. An immediate review of international reports of similar AEFI show no signals for concern. Vaccine rollout using alternate batches of COVID-19 AstraZeneca continues and further investigations are ongoing.

 To read the official announcement follow the link below:

Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care: Incidents after vaccination with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine


Learning from Errors with the New COVID-19 Vaccines

In December 2020 COVID-19 vaccination commenced across the US. This article published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, discusses various reports of administration and preparation errors that have occurred since the rollout began.

Given the scope of the global COVID-19 vaccination campaign, it is expected that there will be mistakes made. As Australia begins its national rollout, a key learning is ensuring that all COVID-19 vaccine errors and adverse reactions are reported to the relevant authorities to help prevent these types of errors occurring here.

To read more follow the link below:

ISMP: Learning from Errors with the New COVID-19 Vaccines