Over-50s eligible for COVID jab from May 3 on one proviso

 

All Australians aged over 50 will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine from May 3 in a bid to speed up the delay-plagued rollout, but they will be limited to the AstraZeneca jab only.

The Pfizer dose will now be limited to only people under 50, in response to the extremely rare blood-clotting side effect linked to AstraZeneca.

It comes as Australians living in high-risk COVID countries will face further restrictions in returning home, with India to be the first country to cop the additional roadblocks.

In the latest change to the vaccine rollout, the 5.7 million Australians aged between 50 and 70 will be able to access AstraZeneca jabs from state-run GP respiratory clinics from May 3, while this will then be expanded to GPs more broadly from May 17.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussing changes to Australia’s vaccine rollout. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussing changes to Australia’s vaccine rollout. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Following a National Cabinet meeting, Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said most people aged over 50 would only be able to access AstraZeneca now, but they will have more choice once more Pfizer supplies arrive later in the year.

"We recommend AstraZeneca, the risk-benefit for over 50s is vastly in favour of being vaccinated. But people always have a choice and more Pfizer will be available later in the year," he said.

Aged care residents will continue to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also revealed direct commercial and government-chartered flights from India will be cut by almost one-third, in response to the latest wave which had seen a significant increase in cases in hotel quarantine.

It will be the first country to be classified as "high-risk", but others will be added to the list as needed.

Under the new rules, flights will be curtailed by 30 per cent from any country deemed by the Chief Medical Officer to be high-risk.

Currently, there are no direct commercial flights from India to Queensland.

But to deal with indirect and connecting flights, any-one who is travelling from India to Australia via a third country will need to undertake a rapid-COVID test 72 hours before leaving their final port.

Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Mr Morrison said there will also be further restrictions on Australians seeking exemptions to travel to high-risk country, with only the most urgent applications to be considered.

"Australians are living like few others in the world and we take those border arrangements very seriously," he said.

India report more than 314,000 cases one day this week, a new global record, while the number of cases of COVID detected in hotel quarantine from people arriving from India has jumped from 10 per cent to 40 per cent.

A date from when the changes will take place has yet to be set, but it is expected to be imminent.

Originally published as All over-50s eligible for COVID jab from May 3 on one proviso

 



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