TGA collecting COVID-19 vaccine side effect reports

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have published a summary of suspected adverse events reported following COVID-19 immunisation since the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. All reports to date reflect the expected side effects identified in clinical trials for Comirnaty™. Reports include cases of feeling faint, headache, dizziness or nausea. The two cases of administration error in a Brisbane aged care facility have not been associated with any adverse outcomes.

Commencing Wednesday March 3, 2021 the TGA will publish weekly updates on the number of COVID-19 vaccine adverse event reported.

For more information refer to the following link:

TGA collecting COVID-19 vaccine side effect reports


ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for frail older people, including those in residential aged care facilities

ATAGI have published a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for frail older people, including those in residential aged care facilities in order to assist this population group or their caregivers to make an informed decision about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently in Australia there are 2 vaccines approved for use to prevent severe COVID-19 disease. They are available for free, with older populations in the earlier priority groups identified for eligibility. Both vaccines have been recommended by the TGA for use in older people, with no upper age limit for either vaccine.

Read more via the links below:


ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy

COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended in pregnancy, however they are not contraindicated.

COVID-19 vaccines can be considered if a pregnant woman has medical risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease or is at a high risk of exposure and contact with people with the virus. Pregnant women have been shown to have an increased risk of needing admission to intensive care and requiring mechanical ventilation if they contract COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women of the same age. Pregnant women can discuss this with their health provider to ascertain if the potential benefit of receiving a COVID vaccine outweighs any risks.

ATAGI have released a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy and considering having a COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more via links below:

MVEC: Maternal vaccination during pregnancy (recently updated)

ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy


Effectiveness of First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines Against Hospital Admissions in Scotland

A recent study in Scotland has investigated the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech) and ChAdOx1 (Oxford-AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccines in preventing hospital admissions.

The study across approximately 99% of Scotland’s population (5.4 million people) found that a single dose of either vaccine resulted in significant reductions in COVID-19 related hospitalisations.

Read more via the link below:

Preprints with The Lancet: Effectiveness of First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines Against Hospital Admissions in Scotland: National Prospective Cohort Study of 5.4 Million People


The University of Melbourne: Learning as we go during vaccine rollout

As Australia begins its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, preventing disease transmission and achieving herd immunity are the long-term goals. This will only become known once the vaccine has been administered in a larger population.

The following article explores our experiences with past immunisation programs and highlights the idea of modifying schedules as further information comes to light. It is recommended that in the context of COVID-19 vaccines and a global pandemic, we must use the vaccines that are available now, and then adapt the program later.

It is suggested that with Australia's current rate of disease burden, further consideration needs to be given to developing countries to ensure a vaccine is readily available and affordable for all.

To read more follow the link below:

The University of Melbourne: Learning as we go during vaccine rollout


The Conversation: When vaccinating 26 million Australians, expect a mistake or two. But we can minimise the risk of repeating Queensland's overdose incident

Following the inadvertent administration of a higher than recommended dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to two aged-care residents, the following article discusses how this incident could happen and how we can aim to minimise the risk of it happening again.

Looking at data collected from clinical trials it is reassuring that this mistake is unlikely to have serious side effects. Moving forward it is suggested that supporting the education of immunisation providers, as well as enhancing the way we capture errors, will promote confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

To read the article in full follow the link below:

The Conversation: When vaccinating 26 million Australians, expect a mistake or two. But we can minimise the risk of repeating Queensland’s overdose incident 


TGA provisionally approves AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

Following a thorough review process, informed by expert and independent advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines (ACV), the TGA has granted provisional approval for the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Provisional registration will allow COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to be administered to individuals 18 years and over for the prevention of COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. The 2 dose course may be administered with a 4-12 week interval, with ATAGI preferring doses separated by 12 weeks. In certain circumstances an interval of 4 weeks is acceptable.

Of note, there were no safety concerns revealed in clinical trials involving patients >65 years of age and a strong immune response was demonstrated. However due to insufficient numbers of participants infected with SARS-CoV-2 in this age group, efficacy could not be conclusively determined. As a result, the immunisation of individuals in this age group should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Supply of this vaccine will initially be imported from overseas, with ongoing supply of vaccines to be manufactured in Australia.

To read the press release in full follow the link below:

TGA provisionally approves AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine


COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions, and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States shows intent to receive a COVID-19 vaccination has risen to almost 50% amongst adults and priority groups, up from almost 40% several months prior. Non-intent has dropped to around 32%, with the groups with the highest levels of non-intent including young adults, females, non-Hispanic Black adults, adults who do not live in metropolitan areas and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The report highlights the key role health care workers play in addressing reasons for non-intent as they are trusted sources of information. This will be critical in promoting vaccine confidence and decreasing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring there is equitable vaccine coverage and uptake amongst minority populations.

Read the full report below:

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions, and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination — United States, September and December 2020


Patterns of COVID-19 dynamics following deployment of a broad national immunization program

A data analysis in Israel has investigated the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations following a vaccination campaign that commenced in December 2020. At the time of analysis, 80% of people aged over 60-years had been vaccinated. The data demonstrated a 49% drop in COVID-19 cases, a 36% drop in COVID-19 related hospitalisations and a 29% drop in critically ill patients compared to three weeks prior in this age group.

Read more below:

MedRxiv: Patterns of COVID-19 pandemic dynamics following deployment of a broad national immunization program


COVID vaccine offers two-thirds protection in just one jab

Positive news out of the United Kingdom with findings set to be published in the coming days demonstrating one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starts providing protection in as little as two weeks in younger adults, and three weeks in the elderly population. The data further demonstrates the vaccine is just as effective in people aged over 80-years as it is in people aged under 65-years.

One dose has shown to reduce symptomatic infection risk by 65% in younger adults and by 64% in people aged over 80 years, with protection rising to between 79% and 84% after two doses.

Scientists also note data regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine is showing similar levels of protection across all age groups.

The research is suggestive that people in Britain who have been vaccinated to date will have high levels of protection by the end of February, with admissions to intensive care expected to fall by up to a third by early March.

The Sun: Covid vaccine offers two-thirds protection in just ONE jab and will lead to lockdown escape