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Vaccination eligibility

Vaccination eligibility

Portland residents urged to review vaccination eligibility

Portland residents are being urged to check their eligibility before seeking COVID-19 vaccinations amid reports that some people are becoming upset when they can’t get their preference.

The Pfizer vaccine is not available for people over 50 unless they fit into a priority category or have certain rare medical conditions.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is available to people over 50, however some are demanding Pfizer when they are not eligible.

Portland District Health COVID-19 vaccination program executive sponsor Claire Holt said PDH and local clinics had to follow government rules.

“Just because you’re over 50 and want to have Pfizer doesn’t mean you are eligible to get it,” Mrs Holt said.

Mrs Holt urged people to complete the eligibility checker and nomination form on the COVID-19 safe Department of Health website at

Most people being vaccinated don’t get a choice and PDH is not allowed to give Pfizer to anyone over 50 who doesn’t fit the eligibility criteria. However, people under 50 can have either Pfizer or Astra Zeneca with informed consent.

Victoria has limited supplies of Pfizer at the moment. Getting any type of vaccination that is available is the best option for reducing the impacts of actually contracting COVID-19.

Mrs Holt urged people not to pressure doctors over their eligibility. “Some people are irate that we’ve turned them away and then they get irate with their doctors, but there are rules we all have to follow,” she said. Medical practitioners are required to refer people over 50 requesting Pfizer to the Victorian Specialist Immunisation Service (VicSIS), only if they meet the criteria to overrule the guidelines. For more information go to The Melbourne Vaccination Education Centre.

Mrs Holt added that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweighed the risks. “Blood clotting paired with low platelets is a rare condition and is unrelated to the more common clotting conditions of which many people have a history. For people over 50, it is a 4-in-a-million risk; the risks from clotting with COVID-19 are far greater,” she said.

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Some people experience flu-like symptoms for a day or so after being vaccinated but that’s their immune system developing immunity, not an adverse event. Many people have no side-effects other than perhaps a sore arm.

There have been no local cases of people developing the rare blood clotting condition after having the jab.

“The vaccine is important for us to get back to our normal lives and we urge everyone to do the right thing for the community and for themselves,” Mrs Holt said.

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