18 June 2021

COVID-19 update 18 June 2021: CHO advice WA’s revised vaccine rollout

The VaccinateWA online booking system is now open for bookings from Western Australians aged 50 – 59 who are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

WA Health is adding 7,000 additional Pfizer vaccination appointments a week to cater for this new cohort.

Changes to eligibility were announced yesterday following new advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

WA’s Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson said WA’s vaccination program had been revised based on the ATAGI’s recommendation that Pfizer was the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for those aged under 60.

“The decision to stop administering AstraZeneca to those aged 50 to 59 reflects the stringent vaccine safety monitoring and reporting processes in place – both here in Western Australia and Australia-wide,” he said.

“It is in direct response to vaccination safety concerns and follows the higher risk and observed severity of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) related to the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the 50-59 year old age group here in Australia.”

People aged between 50 and 59 can now book in for their Pfizer vaccination via VaccinateWA or by calling 13 COVID.

Anyone in the 50 – 59 age group who has an existing AstraZeneca appointment will be contacted by the Department to arrange a new booking for the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr Robertson said they would need a new booking for the Pfizer vaccine.

“Those in the 50 – 59 age group who have had their first AstraZeneca vaccination will need to have a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine – mixed use of vaccines is not approved in Australia.”

There are around 385,000 Western Australians aged between 50 to 59 -- to date, more than 100,000 or 26.1 per cent of this group have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

People aged 30-39 who are already booked, will be vaccinated. If you are aged between 30-39 and registered on VaccinateWA you will be contacted directly to make a booking once more of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is made available by the Australian Government.

Dr Robertson stressed it was still vitally important that Western Australians continued to get vaccinated when they became eligible.

“The recent COVID-19 cases in Victoria and NSW remind us that people should not wait until WA has another outbreak before booking a vaccination,” he said.

“Vaccination will help to reduce the spread of infection and severity of illness if you are infected.

“You will also be providing vulnerable people, especially those with compromised immunity, protection against the illness.”

Dr Robertson said WA’s Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee would continue to work closely with the TGA and ATAGI to collect and evaluate reports of any suspected side effects reported throughout State’s COVID-19 vaccination program.