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Nicola Spurrier flags hotline to inform on COVID-19 vaccine changes

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 9/04/2021
SA's Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier says a return to normal life will be slowed after changes were made to the national vaccine rollout. © Getty SA's Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier says a return to normal life will be slowed after changes were made to the national vaccine rollout.

South Australia's Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier says officials will be discussing how best to answer an influx of questions on the state's vaccine rollout following new recommendations on the AstraZeneca jab.

Professor Spurrier told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that an information hotline was one possible idea to help address concerns.

Medical regulators have determined that the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred jab , but 

South Australia has one of the lowest vaccine administration rates in Australia, tracking at an average of roughly 800 doses per day.

Authorities planning next move

Professor Spurrier said she would meet with local health network chiefs this morning to determine the best way to update the public with the information they needed.

"It's going to be messy today, I don't think there's any way around that," Professor Spurrier said.

"When we needed to put up information lines, we've done that in the past, so that's something we'll be discussing today."

She conceded a return to normal life and the opening of the national border was going to be delayed following the new advice.

"It's going to slow it down, it's unfortunate but it is what it is," she said.

"What South Australians should feel very confident about is that as soon as we've had this information we've shared it and we're making changes on the basis of that."

She said the new advice would mean that the vaccine rollout would have to "pivot" and the Commonwealth government would negotiate over other available vaccines and would manage the changed rollout once it was determined.

Second dose of AstraZeneca safe to get

Professor Spurrier maintained that despite the new advice, those who had received their first AstraZeneca jab should get their second.

She said the blood-clotting issue identified had only occurred after the first vaccine had been administered and never the second.

"If you've got through your first dose and [there were] no problems then you should have your second dose," she said.

"Educate yourself on the symptoms and if you're worried, go and see your doctor for a chat."

She said the symptoms included a series of headaches that do not go away using painkillers like asprin, between four and 20 days after the first vaccine was administered.

"[If that happens] you need to get it assessed and if you can't get in to your GP, you need to go to the emergency department."

She maintained that getting the vaccine was a personal choice and that anyone with concerns over existing health conditions should speak with their medical professionals.

The SA Government currently operates a COVID-19 Information Line —1800 253 787 — offering general information for South Australians. 

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Video: AstraZeneca advice changes 'unlikely' to immediately impact vaccine rollout (Sky News Australia)


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