Victorians now have to wait only six weeks to get the second AstraZeneca jab
02.09.2021

Victorians now have to wait only six weeks to get the second AstraZeneca jab

The wait time between AstraZeneca doses is now the same as for Pfizer, which was recently extended from three to six weeks due to limited supplies.

In yesterday’s press conference, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made it clear that COVID zero will not be possible in Victoria, and this is now a race to getting 80 per cent of the date fully vaccinated in order to move forward and open up the state.

With the vaccine rollout declared a race, with plans to ease restrictions in Melbourne and across Victoria once at least 70 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, the interval between doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been halved from 12 to six weeks in Victoria in order to get as many vaccines into as many Aussie arms as possible.

This change comes as the Delta variant continues to spread across metropolitan Melbourne, with the state recording 176 new cases overnight, including 93 mystery cases. There are now 1,029 active cases across the state, including three cases detected in hotel quarantine, and there are 61 people being treated in hospital including 21 in intensive care and 13 requiring ventilation.

This is the state’s second consecutive day of more than 100 locally acquired cases, after 120 were reported on Wednesday. It is the highest daily figure since August 22 last year, when 202 infections were recorded.

The key takeaways

  • Victorians will be able to be fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca six weeks earlier than planned
  • This is now a race to getting 80 per cent of the date fully vaccinated in order to move forward and open up the state.
  • The wait time between AstraZeneca doses is now the same as for Pfizer, which was recently extended from three to six weeks due to limited supplies.

This Twitter account tells you exactly what time the daily press conference will be.

Now in line with the Pfizer vaccination, Victorians will be able to be fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca six weeks earlier than planned with the wait reduced from 12 weeks down to six from today. Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie on Thursday announced the change, which is effective immediately.

“If you’re sitting at seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks (between doses), go and get your double dose now,” he said, as more than 52,000 appointments become available at state-run vaccination hubs in the coming weeks.

Professor Cowie said the change, as well as additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine from the Commonwealth government, will help the state reach its immunisation targets faster and help us return to a somewhat normal life.

“But more importantly, they will really contribute to the response to community transmission, put a downward pressure on cases, and contribute to protecting the health system,” he said.

The wait time between AstraZeneca doses is now the same as for Pfizer, which was recently extended from three to six weeks due to limited supplies.

While clinical trials have shown the vaccine is most effective with a dosing interval of 12 weeks, given the heightened risk of people becoming infected, ATAGI’s advice in responding to such an outbreak of the COVID-19 delta strain is that anyone who has received an AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine more than 4 weeks ago should contact their vaccine provider to arrange their second dose as soon as possible. This is to strike a balance between long-term vaccine efficacy and getting the highest level of protection against the Delta variant.

“We are recommending six weeks to get that balance between optimal efficacy, and getting as many second doses into people as we possibly can,” Cowie said.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI has also reinforced its earlier advice that the benefits to people aged 60 or over of being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine strongly outweigh the risks – and that vaccination is essential for this group in the context of an outbreak. Noting the current constrained supply of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine, ATAGI also recommends adults under the age of 60 who do not have immediate access to the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine should consider the benefits and risks of earlier protection through the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) 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.

In yesterday’s conference, Andrews says right now there are more than 70,000 AstraZeneca appointments available in state clinics.

“2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in our state over the last few months. This is a choice that literally millions of Victorians are making,” he says.

“It is a safe vaccine, it is an effective vaccine. It is the vaccine that is available now and that means for the vast majority of people, it is the best vaccine right now.”

You can find out more about the AstraZeneca vaccine here. Here‘s all you need to know about getting your vaccine in Geelong. 

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days – and get tested.