‘Don’t die waiting’: Man, 60, denied Pfizer as PM sends AstraZeneca ultimatum

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Australians over 60 are being warned to get AstraZeneca immediately or “die waiting” for Pfizer and other vaccine alternatives as the wildly infectious Delta variant runs rampant. 

It comes amid widespread frustration among GPs at people between 60-69 holding out to get Pfizer over AstraZeneca because of the extremely small risk of blood clots.

There are currently more than half a million Australians in this age bracket who haven't had a single shot of the vaccine.

(left) AstraZeneca vial (right) stock photo of vaccine being administered Source: Getty Images
GPs are frustrated people over 60 who are insisting on waiting for Pfizer. Source: Getty Images

“The AMA's advice to all Australians is do not wait. Go and get yourself vaccinated. We do need to prioritise the Pfizer vaccine for those younger groups,” Dr Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association said.

“The simple message for everyone over 60 is just to go and get vaccinated...The AZ vaccine is extremely safe. It is extremely effective, and it may end up being the better of the two vaccines in terms of protecting you from COVID in the long term.”

The AMA’s Vice-President Dr Chris Moy was much more blunt.

“Don’t die waiting,” he warned.

Federal government to letterbox over 60s

It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote a letter to Australians over 60, urging them to get AstraZeneca as soon as possible.

The letter, co-signed by health minister Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, will be sent out next week to hundreds of thousands of Australians between 60-69 who are unvaccinated.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly give an update on the coronavirus at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, February 27, 2020. Source: AAP
Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly have written a letter urging people over 60 to get AstraZeneca. Source: AAP

"The expert health advice is very clear, people over 60 have a greatly increased risk of getting severe disease with COVID-19 and must be vaccinated as soon as possible," the letter reads.

"The recent outbreaks of the new, more infectious strains of the COVID-19 virus, with some tragic deaths in Sydney, make it even more important that Australians over 60 get vaccinated now."

Man, 60, denied Pfizer at vaccine clinic

A 60-year-old man has accused the federal government of being ‘ageist’ after he was turned away from getting the Pfizer shot.

Jeff told Yahoo News he's been holding out for the Pfizer vaccine because he believes the technology is better adapted for future variants. 

He pointed to comments from Mr Hunt in May, who had told over 50s who were uncertain about AstraZeneca there will be more doses of Pfizer and Moderna available in the year.

“I feel if there is a choice you should be free to make that choice, and not be bound by your age,” he said.

People wait in line to get vaccinated at a Covid vaccination clinic at Olympic Park, Sydney, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. Source: AAP
A 60-year-old man who was refused Pfizer has accused the federal government of being 'ageist'. Source: AAP

The business owner, who works in a Covid hotspot, managed to book an appointment for his first shot at Helensburgh Respiratory Clinic but staff flatly refused to give him the jab when he turned up last weekend.

They told him his only option was to go elsewhere for AstraZeneca, as it wasn't currently available at this particular clinic. 

“I just couldn’t believe it.”

He said the experience left him with a mixture of disbelief and anger.

“I find the whole thing very ageist.”

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