Q&A host Virginia Trioli cut off Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten after he suggested there was a ‘cloud’ over the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The former Opposition Leader was trying to explain a government advisory group’s changing positions on the jab during a segment about how best to advertise the benefits of coronavirus vaccines.
‘There’s the cloud over the AZ, so that’s been a problem and it has undermined confidence,’ he said.
Trioli abruptly cut him off and said, ‘There’s not a cloud over AZ.’
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Q&A host Virginia Trioli cut off Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten after he suggested there was a ‘cloud’ over the AstraZeneca vaccine. The former Opposition Leader was trying to explain a government advisory group’s changing positions on the jab
Mr Shorten, who was visibly annoyed with his arms crossed, abruptly replied: ‘Hang on, let me finish.’
Trioli suggested she didn’t want anything said on the ABC show that would further jeopardise Australia’s slow vaccine rollout as the more contagious Delta strain of Covid keeps 14million in lockdown in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
‘I don’t want to put anything out there that’s incorrect or might stir up vaccine hesitancy,’ she said.
Mr Shorten then had to defend himself by pointing out the Australian Technical Advisory Group’s changing positions on AstraZeneca.
‘No, I wasn’t doing that,’ he said.
‘But what I was saying was the government changed the instructions, ATAGI changed instructions.
‘They said you have to get AZ if you’re 50 plus, then they changed it to 60 plus.
‘That confused people.’
Bill Shorten, who was visibly annoyed with his arms crossed, abruptly replied: ‘Hang on, let me finish’
In June, ATAGI recommended Pfizer over AstraZeneca for those under 60.
In April, it had recommended Pfizer instead of AstraZeneca for those under 50 after a 48-year-old NSW Central Coast woman died.
Now the Therapeutic Goods Administration has linked six deaths to AstraZeneca as a result of incredibly rare complications from thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
The risk of death from an AstraZeneca vaccine is rated as one in 2.5million while the probability of a blood clot is three in 100,000, based on ATAGI advice.
While Australia has plentiful supplies of AstraZeneca, just 15 per cent of Australians over 16 were fully vaccinated against Covid, as of July 21, despite the Indian Delta strain being more contagious, Department of Health data showed.
Mr Shorten then had to defend himself by pointing out the Australian Technical Advisory Group’s changing positions on AstraZeneca (pictured is nurse Annabel Thomas receiving a Pfizer vaccine)
That is well below the herd immunity level of more than 80 per cent needed or the 70 per cent figure Prime Minister Scott Morrison is advocating to avoid more lockdowns.
Little more than a third or 36.6 per cent of people had received one dose.
Mr Morrison has expressed his frustration at ATAGI’s changing advice and on June 28 announced doctors would be legally indemnified if they administered AstraZeneca.
Australian adults can receive AstraZeneca if they consult their GP.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant pleaded with people to get an AstraZeneca jab, adding she, her husband and her mother-in-law had received the vaccine.
‘The Chief Health Officer would not recommend to someone they care about if they had concerns,’ she said on Friday.
‘The risk of AstraZeneca were infinitesimally small compared with the benefits.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant (left with Premier Gladys Berejiklian) pleaded with people to get an AstraZeneca jab, adding she, her husband and her mother-in-law had received the vaccine
‘We need to correct the mythology about AstraZeneca. In the context of the Delta threat, I don’t understand why people would not go out to get AstraZeneca in droves.’
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she and her parents had also been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, with sufficient Pfizer doses unlikely to arrive until at least September and October.
NSW had 136 new Covid cases overnight with 53 infectious in the community.
Parts of western Sydney, in the Cumberland and Blacktown council areas, will now be put under heavier restrictions banning them from leaving home for work unless they are employed in health or emergency services.
Residents of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas in Sydney’s south-west are already under tighter lockdown rules.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard expressed his frustration at the vaccine hesitancy as daily case numbers kept increasing.
‘There is oceans of AstraZeneca in New South Wales,’ he said.