Australia closes in on 7 million COVID-19 doses as the TGA releases its weekly safety report… meanwhile China reaches 1 billion milestone
In Australia, there have been a total of 64 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine to 24 June, reports the TGA in its latest weekly safety report.
This number comprises 39 confirmed cases and 25 probable cases from across approximately 4.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Five additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine were reported over the past week.
This includes three new cases of confirmed TTS in a 51-year-old woman, a 54-year-old woman and 60-year-old woman, all from NSW.
A 59-year-old woman from Victoria and a 95-year-old man from NSW have been deemed “probable” cases of TTS.
So far there have been two deaths linked to TTS – a 52-year-old woman from NSW and a 48-year-old woman from NSW.
Meanwhile 6,999,198 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 24 June, expected to reach 7 million on Friday.
The adverse events most commonly reported to the TGA following COVID-19 vaccination are side effects that are observed with vaccines generally. They include headache, muscle and joint pain, chills and injection site reactions.
This adds up to a reporting rate of 4.8 per 1,000 doses, with more than 31,000 adverse events reports overall to 20 June.
The TGA is also monitoring reports of suspected myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine and suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome following the AstraZeneca vaccine.
No causal association with either vaccine has been established at this stage.
Over two in three Australians aged over 70 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared on Thursday as vaccine doses neared the 7 million mark.
More than 4 million of these were administered by the Commonwealth, while nearly 3 million had been done through state and territory clinics.
However Australia is falling behind other nations, with some criticising the lack of utilisation of the community pharmacy network.
The US, which activated pharmacies from the beginning, has reached 150 million vaccinated individuals with 319 million doses administered.
On Thursday it was announced that China has administered more than a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has blamed supply issues for the delay in pharmacy onboarding for the vaccine rollout.
Pharmacy Guild national president Trent Twomey in April complained about the NSW government’s approach with mass vaccination hubs, since more than 4,000 community pharmacies had been accepted for the rollout.
“Last year there were over 462 million individual patient visits to local pharmacies,” he told AJP.
“We’ve also seen in the US that the most successful rollout has been in West Virginia where they’ve gone with the local pharmacy option as the vaccination provider.
“We understand and support the Government’s vaccine rollout strategy, but if we want to move to a rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccination, it makes sense that they use our national network of healthcare professionals.”