Vaccinations paused in Torres Strait

·2-min read

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is optimistic Queensland's rollout has not been thrown off course by changing advice for the AstraZeneca jab as one hospital and health service pauses its vaccination program.

Torres and Cape Executive Director of Medical Services Tony Brown said on Friday the change in recommendations had "significant implications for the health service".

"While we work through these, it is sensible that we pause the vaccination program rollout to allow us to realign to the new guidelines,'' he said.

"The recommendation that Pfizer vaccine be administered to under 50s in preference to AstraZeneca for people who have not yet had their first dose has implications for regions such as ours where the majority of our population base is aged under 50.

"In addition, we are yet to receive information from the Commonwealth as to how and when the necessary doses of Pfizer might be delivered to regions such as ours in order to comply with the new vaccination recommendations."

Vaccinations in the Torres Strait have been a priority for Queensland given its number of vulnerable communities and proximity to the outbreak in Papua New Guinea.

"We will keep our communities informed as we firm up plans for the continuing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program across our region and the delivery of second doses to communities such as Saibai, Boigu and Dauan, which have already had their first doses," Dr Brown said.

Australia secured an additional 20 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccines on Friday following changes to advice for people under 50 receiving the AstraZeneca jab because of extremely rare blood clots.

Speaking after National Cabinet, Ms Palaszczuk said she accepted the recommendation regarding AstraZeneca and the state's vaccine rollout would continue.

"My information is that it won't really impact on the rollout but the Department of Health will now work with Commonwealth Health to address any issues. But it's business as usual," she said.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said Queenslanders under 50 should speak to their doctor if they're concerned about options.

"They should work out themselves what they think their risks are and if they'd like some advice speak to their GP about it," she said.

"There's no prohibition here on younger people getting the AstraZeneca vaccine because the risk is still extraordinarily rare."

As well as securing more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Dr Young said current supplies were scheduled to arrive sooner.

"(This) will suit our process of 1B then going into 2A and 2B, which is when we start vaccinating younger people," she said.

There had been concerns about how storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine would impact its rollout but Dr Young said updated studies showed it could be stored for two weeks in a 'normal' freezer'.

"We'll be putting a Pfizer hub in every single hospital and health service," she said.