Australia’s top medical officer on Monday urged countrymen who have received an AstraZeneca COVID shot to “not delay” getting the second dose – even though the vaccine has been linked to more deaths than COVID in Australia this year. That’s right. More Australians have passed in 2021 due to the vaccine than the actual pathogen. That number could alter the risk-benefit calculation.
Regardless of these numbers, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, after a National Cabinet meeting, reiterated the benefits of vaccination and encouraged Australians to stay vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19. He told Australia’s ABC network that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in combating COVID-19 “far outweighed” the risks of developing a very rare blood clotting syndrome.
Two women in Australia have died from vaccine-related blood clots. The only COVID fatality this year was an 80-year-old traveler who died in April after being infected overseas and diagnosed in hotel quarantine. Last week authorities recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given only to people 60 or over; people 50-59 were encouraged to get the Pfizer vaccine instead.
Since the start of the pandemic, Australia, a country of 25 million people, has recorded just over 30,000 infections and 910 deaths. Clearly Dr. Kelly is considering the total COVID-19 deaths and perhaps is contemplating risks with the Delta variant However recent reports are that this variant, while more transmissible, is actually less virulent.
Call to Action: Be sure to speak with your physician about the risks and benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. From Dr. Kelly’s perspective, total pandemic deaths are still far higher hence influencing the risk-benefit calculation toward vaccination.