Therapeutic product administration has been notified of two additional fatal cases of the rare blood clot disorder related to AstraZeneca.
- This is the fifth and sixth deaths associated with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from 6.1 million doses according to the TGA
- Both deaths were confirmed cases of coagulation disorder thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
- Authorities say anyone who has received the vaccine should seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms, including severe or persistent headaches, blurred vision and confusion or seizures.
One is a 44-year-old man from Tasmania, and the other a 48-year-old woman from Victoria, reported as a likely thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) cases last week.
Tasmanian State Health Commander Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said the man was a confirmed case of TTS.
He was vaccinated in a Tasmanian state vaccination clinic.
Morgan-Wicks said TTS was a rare but serious condition.
“TTS is thought to occur due to an immune response to the AstraZeneca vaccine and differs from other conditions,” she said.
She said people should seek immediate medical attention if they developed symptoms such as “severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, confusion or seizures, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the legs or persistent abdominal pain”.
Ms Morgan-Wicks said people over the age of 60 benefit from the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the rare risks associated with vaccination.
The man’s death will be investigated by the coronation.
Victorian Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie said any loss of life was tragic.
“It’s a million,” he said.
“One is for many, but what we are trying to achieve is a balance between the rare but serious side effect and the absolute fundamental good that vaccinates our society against COVID-19.”
Victoria today registered 26 new local COVID-19 cases.
Two of the new cases were in the community while contagious, but the rest were in quarantine.
That brings the number of cases in the state outbreak to 133.
6.1 m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine administered
There have been 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and six deaths related to the first dose, TGA says.
There have been 87 cases of TTS so far.
Of the four previous deaths, three were cases of TTS, and one was a case of immunothrombocytopenia (ITP).
The Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) recommends the Pfizer vaccine as preferred for those aged 16 to 60 years.
In June, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that anyone under the age of 40 could contact their doctor to request the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The next day, ATAGI co-chairman Christopher Blyth poured water on the proposals, saying that under 40s should only consider getting AstraZeneca under “urgent circumstances”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today that he was saddened by the challenges his government faced in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year.
The Prime Minister has been under increasing pressure to acknowledge failures in the program following several outbreaks of the Delta strain of COVID-19.
Tasmania’s director of public health Mark Veitch said the incidence of TTS after AstraZeneca is now estimated to be around 2 out of 100,000.
“People in this gentleman’s age group had been advised to weigh the benefits of risks [of the AstraZeneca vaccine] carefully for several months before this vaccine was delivered, ”he said.
“The public needs to know that there are side effects, but they also need to know that there are benefits to vaccines.”
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