Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine coronavirus
(Image: AP/Esteban Felix)

Late on Monday Australia’s Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) met for its weekly discussion to decide whether to update its advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine. It decided against updating it, leaving Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for the under 60s -- although anyone can request AstraZeneca from their GPs.

The meeting came the same day that a 72-year-old woman in South Australia is believed to have died from the rare blood clotting syndrome linked to AstraZeneca.

In late June, the Health Department released a document weighing up the risks of COVID-19 and the AstraZeneca vaccine based on advice from ATAGI. For every 100,000 people aged 18 to 29, 1.9 would develop blood clots and just one hospitalisation would be prevented. For those aged over 80 the risk is the same -- 6.2 deaths and 11.5 hospitalisations would be prevented. Clot risk is highest in those aged 40 to 49; five in every 100,000 people develop clots.