Federal health authorities are investigating the death of a 48-year-old diabetic NSW woman who developed blood clots after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Preliminary tests did not find a conclusive link to the vaccination. News Corp reported today it was the AstraZeneca jab.
Tonight the Federal Health Department said it had not established a link between the vaccine the woman received and her death. She was vaccinated last Friday and died on Wednesday.
“NSW Health has said there is no confirmed link but further investigations are under way,” a statement read.
The Prime Minister said it was important to wait for the medical experts to assess the latest death.
“I think there is a lot more to understand and learn about that issue and I would caution others in making conclusions about this at this point as well,” Scott Morrison said today.
“We’ve been very transparent, very transparent when it comes to information on these issues and people can expect us to do that.”
He assured Australians the jab was “a safe and necessary and highly effective vaccine” for those most at risk.
The death comes as Premier Mark McGowan called for an immediate overhaul of the rollout to give all over 50s the opportunity to have the AstraZeneca vaccine.
NSW Health said it was notified when a serious or unexpected adverse event occurs and investigates. It then refers its expert panel findings to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
“An adverse event following immunisation is any untoward medical event that occurs after a vaccination has been given, which may be related to the vaccine. A conclusion regarding a causal relationship with the vaccine is not necessary to suspect or report an adverse event,” a spokesman said.
A WA woman this week became the second person in Australia to suffer a rare blood clot — known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome — after getting the AstraZeneca jab.
She was treated at Royal Darwin Hospital and is in a stable condition and recovering well.
Last week, Federal authorities announced they would recommend under-50s get the Pfizer jab instead of AstraZeneca.
Mr McGowan said the number of people getting the jab in State-run clinics had since slowed to a trickle. He told Mr Morrison at their face-to-face meeting the State should be permitted to release its stockpile of 30,000 doses to GPs and the eligibility expanded to anyone aged over 50.
“We need to make it available to anyone over the age of 50. We just have to encourage people to go and get vaccinated,” the Premier said.
“I’d use our GPs, pharmacies — whoever it might be across the community — to get the AstraZeneca out there to people who are eligible for it, which is basically people over 50. That way we’ll get far more people vaccinated far more quickly.”
Mr McGowan said he was “very worried” about vaccine hesitancy, but believed as more people rolled up their sleeves it would ease concerns.
“We’ve had a challenge from the medical advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 50, but that is a very remote risk that has been identified,” he said.
“So those over 50 right now, the critical need is to ensure that we get the over 70s vaccinated because they are most at risk of any outbreak that we might have from COVID-19 like we saw in Victoria.”