THE gold medal NSW was given for its handling of the pandemic last year has certainly tarnished and a recount is in place.
Sorry, couldn’t resist the Olympic analogy! Not sure we totally agreed with the running of it in a pandemic when the host city is suffering so much, but it did provide some welcome escapism and much needed joy in our (thankfully partial now) lockdown.
Locally it is fabulous to see so many stepping up and getting vaccinated. Accurate assessments and percentages lag behind real-time but we can report that the medical centre gave about 500 vaccines last week, 200 of them AstraZeneca.
We have given about 3500 vaccines in total and now have about 1200 fully vaccinated and 1100 partially vaccinated people on our books.
AstraZeneca is finally in the news for the right reasons and with a million doses a week being produced locally we have a real chance of getting our vaccination rates up to those needed to free us up from lockdowns and worse. (And enough to share with our neighbouring countries who are vaccine-poor and terribly vulnerable). In NSW there is a real push to get as many vaccinated with AZ as soon as possible, for the risk of the delta strain not getting under control is very real.
As you would expect there is a mass of medical information and articles coming out from overseas. One from Spain was of particular interest and a bit surprising. It said…
“A new study of more than one million Covid-19 vaccine recipients has concluded a rare blood clotting side effect is as likely to occur from a Pfizer jab as the much-maligned AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a paper pre-released in The Lancet, researchers from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands said both jabs have a “similar” incident rate of thrombosis.
“In this study we have found the safety profiles of ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer), an mRNA-based vaccine, to be broadly similar,” the paper explained.
The study of Spanish patients also found blood clots are more common in people who test positive for Covid-19 than those who have received either jab.
That last line also needs highlighting.
We have said it all along; the AstraZeneca vaccine is a good vaccine, it is highly effective and it is (finally) readily available. There are some side effects, particularly short term after the first dose in younger people, but the thrombosis risk has gained far more press and traction than it deserves. (It has been calculated that the risk of actually dying from thrombosis from the vaccine is about the same as dying from a lightning strike in a year in Australia).
- AstraZeneca is freely available now for all age groups over 18 and the recommended vaccine for all over 60.
- Ring the clinic for an appointment.
- Pfizer is also available, for 40-59 and others in stage 1b.
- Read up on www.health.gov.au and check your eligibility status.
- Go to www.hotdoc.com.au for a Saturday Pfizer appointment or ring the clinic for weekday appointments.
The Doherty Institute’s predictions last week of what our Australian vaccination rates need to be to end lockdowns and open up borders can make sobering reading especially when we see how far behind other countries Australia lies in its vaccine rollout.
We have a long way to go.
The macro-medical picture we have little control over but individually and locally we can make a difference. Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, for your own protection certainly, but equally importantly, for the protection of your community.
(Dr Phil, Foster Medical Centre)