People aged under 40 will now be able to access the AstraZeneca vaccine, following a major shift in government policy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced anyone under the age of 40 can now approach their GP and ask for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The announcement followed an an emergency meeting of the National Cabinet on Monday night.
AstraZeneca has been reserved for Australians aged over the age of 60, because of the risk of very rare risk of blood clotting disorders linked to the vaccine in younger people.
But during a press conference on Monday night the PM said those who wished to get the AstraZeneca vaccine were encouraged to discuss it with their GP.
” … we are also providing the indemnity scheme for those general practitioners so they can actively engage with you and you can make the best decision for your health,” he said.
When a journalist asked for clarity on whether that applied to any age group, the Prime Minister confimed “the answer is yes, they can go and do that”.
“AstraZeneca is there for people to get vaccinated, and there are many points of presence – over 5000 GPs alone where you can get that done.
“And so, if people are concerned, as I’m sure they are, as I am, then I’d be encouraging them to go out and get that vaccination,” he said.
Operation COVID Shield coordinator general of operation Lieutenant General JJ Frewen said the government was this week bringing on an additional 236 GP practices that could administer AstraZeneca.
“That will bring us to more than 5000 GPs now across the country and a total of over 6000 places where people can access vaccines,” he said.
“And for those people who want to get access to a vaccine now who can’t get access to Pfizer, they can make an informed decision to get AstraZeneca through GPs – and the announcement the PM has made tonight will give GPs even greater confidence in their ability to provide that advice.”