Victoria’s chief health officer has had his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, in a move authorities hope will boost confidence in the troubled shots.
Professor Sutton, who is aged in his 50s, said he was excited to receive the jab on Wednesday morning.
“I know it will protect me – and with the second dose in 12 weeks time – that will be really substantial protection,” he said at the vaccination hub at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.
“You do it for yourself, but we’re doing it for everyone ultimately and it’s going to make Australia a different place.”
It’s hoped Professor Sutton’s vaccination will boost public confidence in Victoria in the AstraZeneca vaccine, following the change in medical advice to limit it to people over 50 and three cases of rare blood clotting reported in Australia.
They include 48-year-old Genene Norri, who died in NSW last week after developing blood clots.
The TGA said her death was likely linked to her vaccination.
Ms Norris had several chronic health conditions when she received the jab on April 8. She became unwell three or four days later before dying on April 15.
The other two who developed blood clots likely linked to their AstraZeneca jab are a woman in Western Australia and a man in Victoria, both in their 40s.
Professor Sutton reiterated the risk of blood clots was incredibly low and urged anyone eligible for the jab to “step up” at the Victoria’s mass vaccination centres, which opened to everyone over 70 from Wednesday.
“You are more likely to get a clot at whatever age you are on a long-haul flight to Europe or North America than getting this jab,” he said.
“It’s the risk we accept because it’s really small.”
Elsewhere, a police officer is reportedly being treated for blood clots three days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19.
Queensland Health said the patient presented at a private hospital and was not currently admitted.
“In Queensland, all adverse events in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines are reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” a spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“The TGA will then undertake an assessment and determine whether there is any clinical link to the vaccination.”
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said it was too early to say if the incident was linked to the Pfizer vaccine.
“What people should be very confident in though, is that our medical authorities are determined to investigate any such incident and provide that information and data, nationally and indeed internationally,” he said on Wednesday.
“It will be thoroughly investigated, our TGA is one of the strictest in the world.”
Given the current scale of the state’s rollout is much smaller than Mr Miles would have hoped, he said mass vaccination hubs were not likely in the short term.
“Currently our hospitals are able to do the number of vaccines that we have available but certainly I’ve discussed with the chief health officer the points in time at which those larger vaccination centres might be useful,” he said.
If confirmed it will be the first reported incident of a patient developing blood clots after getting the Pfizer vaccine in Australia.
At least 14 people in Australia have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, but no related blood clotting has yet been confirmed.
In Europe, Johnson & Johnson halted the rollout of its vaccine last week after US officials recommended a pause due to six detected cases of very rare blood clots.