New advice on AstraZeneca vaccine released by ATAGI

13 July 2021

In a statement released today, The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has clarified the dosage intervals for AstraZeneca, advising that in an outbreak setting, such as the current Delta strain event in Sydney, that an interval of 4 to 8 is weeks is preferred. 

In line with this, Dr Kerry Chant, the Chief Health Officer of NSW, has promoted a six-week interval for individuals in Sydney. 

ATAGI is advising that anyone who has previously received an AstraZeneca vaccine more than four weeks ago should contact their vaccine provider to expedite the administration of their second dose. 

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly has written to all general practitioners to provide them with the updated statement which includes: 

A reinforcement of earlier ATAGI advice that the benefits to people aged 60 or over of being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine strongly outweigh the risks – and that vaccination is essential for this group in the context of an outbreak. 

In the light of current constrained supplies of the Pfizer vaccine, that ATAGI also recommends adults under the age of 60 who do not have immediate access to the Pfizer vaccine should consider the benefits and risks of earlier protection through the AstraZeneca vaccine. (This recommendation is in the context of an outbreak increasing the risk of people contracting COVID-19 and hence the increased benefit vaccination provides.)  

For more information on this statement, please go to COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Primary Care Update and the Chief Medical Officer Letter