EXPLAINER

AstraZeneca confusion over who can get the jabs and how long you should wait between the doses

As restrictions tighten and the lockdown continues in NSW and Victoria, experts are continuing messages around the need for a critical mass to receive immunisation.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a target of 10 million doses - or 80 per cent of the population - to be administered across the state before the dire situation of growing infection rates can be turned around.

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The government has committed to providing access to the vaccine for "everyone who wants to get it", but confusion has continued around the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant has confirmed there is an adequate supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine in NSW, despite there being an overall shortage in the Pfizer.

LOCKDOWN: Stay-at-home orders and other restrictions have been tightened around NSW and Victoria this week. Picture: Geoff Jones

LOCKDOWN: Stay-at-home orders and other restrictions have been tightened around NSW and Victoria this week. Picture: Geoff Jones

It comes after reports that hundreds of doses of the AstraZeneca were dumped at a health centre in Bendigo, Victoria.

"Our population coverage, even for the over-60s, is not high enough, and we have a good vaccine that can be used," Dr Chant said.

"The risk of hospitalisation and death [from COVID-19] is very high as age increases [...] so I would urge people to go out and access the AstraZeneca vaccine, and go and have that conversation with your doctor."

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Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett, head of Viral Immunology and Respiratory Disease group at the Hunter Medical Research Institute in Newcastle, NSW told this masthead that the persistent worry in the community over the wait-time between the first and second jabs.

"One of the key messages that has been changing recently is the advice around the time [...] you can allow between the first and second AstraZeneca immunisations," Professor Bartlett said.

"Originally it was 12 weeks, then it was changed to eight weeks and now six weeks has been indicated."

He said the changes is based on the increase in urgency in getting the public protected against the Delta Variant which is now sweeping through the country.

"Based on the clinical data we have, it doesn't seem there's a big difference between waiting eight weeks or 10 weeks or even six weeks, there's a similar level of protection," Professor Bartlett said.

This story How long do you have to wait between the AstraZeneca jabs? first appeared on The Canberra Times.