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AMA seeks better communication, more transparency from ATAGI

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“It is my job as Prime Minister not just to simply accept advice uncritically,” he stated.

“Of course I challenge the advice that I receive. I ask questions. I drill into it. You would expect me to do that. I think Australians would not expect me to just take this advice simply on the face of it. We must interrogate it.”

Mr Morrison argued the “balance of risk” had shifted because the April and June choices due to rising COVID-19 case numbers and the higher menace of an infection amongst individuals, particularly in older age teams, who had determined in opposition to vaccination due to the ATAGI recommendation.

“Those people are now at risk in south-western Sydney in particular, but more broadly across Sydney, and I need AstraZeneca vaccines in their arms to protect them and their lives,” he stated.

While Australia’s imports of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are ramping up, it at the moment has more inventory of AstraZeneca, which is being manufactured by CSL in Melbourne.

Dr Moy stated the AMA would suggest modifications to ATAGI so there was more transparency round its resolution making and enhancements in the best way it communicated its recommendation.

“We’re always offering suggestions to help improve the functioning of any committee,” Dr Moy stated.

“I think it’s absolutely reasonable for the Prime Minister to be able to do that. Every stakeholder should be able to do that.

“But if it is construed that you’re trying to influence an independent committee, that’s where you have a problem.”

Asked if he believed Mr Morrison did create such an issue, Dr Moy stated: “I think that would have been easily construed by some.”

Stephen Duckett, a former Health Department secretary who now heads the Grattan Institute’s well being program, stated poor communication across the modifications to ATAGI’s recommendation had undermined the AstraZeneca vaccine and the advisory group.

In regular instances, the group’s work was under no circumstances political, Dr Duckett stated.

But choices that balanced dangers have been essentially political calls, in contrast to a straight epidemiological resolution based mostly on proof a couple of vaccine’s unwanted side effects. Because of this, he stated it wasn’t unreasonable for Mr Morrison to ask the group to re-examine its recommendation.

“The advice process and the announcement process, I think contributed a lot to the undermining of confidence in AstraZeneca,” Dr Duckett stated.

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University of Sydney vaccination communication professional Julie Leask stated ATAGI had supplied leeway in its statements – saying Pfizer must be the popular vaccine for under-60s relatively than banning AstraZeneca – however this flexibility had both gone unnoticed or been miscommunicated.

“The communication has been wanting all the way along, such that when people were told by the PM that it would okay to have it under 40, everyone was shocked as if it was a reversing of the recommendation,” Professor Leask informed ABC’s Radio National. “I think in retrospect that should have been picked up on and the communication around that, the leeway they were giving made clear.”

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