Barnaby Joyce is quite right to claim the risks of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine is low (Armidale Express, April 13, 2021).
However, the small risk of side effects is not what should be concerning older Australians.
The real question is why are we being given the "second best" vaccine?
Of the two vaccines available in Australia so far, the AstraZeneca vaccine has (according to the US FDA, the world's most authoritative drug regulator) a less than 80 per cent efficacy rate; compared with the Pfizer vaccine's 95-100 per cent rate.
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Older people (those above 50) are at greatest risk from COVID-19; and yet we are only being offered the AstraZeneca vaccine. In other words, the Australian Government is forcing those most at risk to receive the least effective vaccine.
When our borders do re-open and international visitors return (with new and possibly worse variants of the virus), it is the most vulnerable who will be most exposed to potential new waves of disease. This defies both common sense and good public health strategies.
Older Australians should be demanding the best vaccine to ensure the highest levels of protection.