Menu
The nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been given an enormous boost with a chief scientist receiving his first locally made jab.
The nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been given an enormous boost with a chief scientist receiving his first locally made jab.

Boost for AstraZeneca jab rollout

CSL's chief scientist has received his first dose of a locally made AstraZeneca vaccine in a strong show of confidence for the COVID-19 jab.

CSL chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Nash received his first dose from Dr Tony Bartone, the past president of the Australian Medical Association Victorian branch, on Friday morning ahead of the ramping up of the phase 2a rollout.

From Monday, Australians aged 50 years and older will be able to receive the AstraZeneca jab at a participating general practice as the federal government picks up the pace to try to get the adult population vaccinated by Christmas.

While Dr Nash did not answer questions on Friday regarding the vaccine's blood clotting issues, he said the company was pleased to play its part in protecting Australians.

"All of the vaccines are very effective. We manufacture the AZ vaccine, which is just one of a number that are available," he said.

 

CSL chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Nash is vaccinated with the locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine by Australian Medical Association past president Dr Tony Bartone at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
CSL chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Nash is vaccinated with the locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine by Australian Medical Association past president Dr Tony Bartone at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers

 

"They all play a very important role in protecting the community, so we're happy."

Dr Nash said he felt great after his dose was administered and the procedure was pretty painless.

"It's been a remarkable performance by our staff to really get to this stage where, from scratch, we've been able to manufacture and distribute vaccines for AstraZeneca and the government to vaccinate the number of people that we have," he said.

At least 5.5 million doses of the locally made AstraZeneca vaccine will have been released to the government by the end of this week, with 1 million now being produced each week.

 

Australian Medical Association past president Dr Tony Bartone with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
Australian Medical Association past president Dr Tony Bartone with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers

CSL hopes showing Dr Nash, and its COVID-19 vaccines program director, Dr Bev Menner, receiving their jab will act as a resounding endorsement of the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It comes as the nation's Therapeutic Goods Administration on Thursday revealed seven new blood clot cases after people were received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The TGA maintains the reporting rates of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in Australia were "consistent with what is being seen internationally".

The TGA defines TTS as "a very rare event" involving "serious blood clots" with a low blood platelet count - less cells that fight against clots.

 

COVID-19 vaccines program director Dr Bev Menner is vaccinated with the locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers
COVID-19 vaccines program director Dr Bev Menner is vaccinated with the locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine at CSL in Parkville. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers

About 1.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered so far in Australia.

Dr Bartone said anyone with concerns about their COVID-19 vaccination should speak with their GP.

"In my practice, in many GP practices across the country, the apprehension, the concerns, maybe even fears, are suitably addressed in a one-to-one fashion, and the vast majority of those people then proceed and go ahead with the vaccination," he said.

"Where you're dealing with a mass vaccination set-up, and it's a walk-up … that's where we've got to increase the amount of communication, information and material available to them, to ensure they can make an appropriate decision."

Dr Bartone said all medications had side effects.

"The extremely rare side effects have had an enormous amount of publicity and that has jolted the confidence of some Australians, but my message to everybody is, this is an effective, safe way to ensure COVID-19 becomes no more than a common cold," he said.

Dr Bartone said supply had been the limiting factor in the government's vaccination rollout so far, but come Monday he expects it to "significantly rise" next week and beyond, with the announcement of up to 400,000 extra doses being supplied to GPs each week.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Boost for AstraZeneca jab rollout



Planned burn of Boyne Island bushland

Premium Content Planned burn of Boyne Island bushland

Some residences in Boyne Island may be impacted by smoke as the result of a...

Innocent image marks major milestone for Biloela girls

Premium Content Innocent image marks major milestone for Biloela girls

For the first time in years, the two young girls have been spotted out and about in...

Flashback: Gladstone’s history in major collection auctioned

Premium Content Flashback: Gladstone’s history in major collection auctioned

Central Queensland venues have united to raise money for men’s health.