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Turning fibs into gold, everything he touches – you do have a choice right now, choose your vaccine wisely

UPDATE – AstraZeneca or Pfizer? Clots, serious illness, hospitalisation and the waiting game. Consider a vaccine mix or go for broke, if the Federal government ever comes to the party with a real choice for all.

People of all ages allegedly who have had no serious blood clotting symptoms of dubious or unknown origin (past or present), not tested positive for, had no past family history of TTS (Thrombocytopenia with Thrombosis Syndrome) or underlying rare autoimmune clotting disorder, may be advised to consider AstraZeneca in the absence of availability or access to Pfizer, than face the highly infectious Delta variant if it is not successfully contained in the community in Australia. The health risks are more prevalent from COVID-19 than AZ itself, we have been clearly told. The difference is of course, avoidance of AZ extinguishes the rare clotting risk altogether from AZ (the choice), but not from the same clotting risks and very serious illness which are far harder to avoid unvaccinated from direct exposure to the Delta variant, if it spreads (an important caveat). In such a scenario, waiting until adequate supplies of Pfizer are available towards the end of the year is a calculated risk. Clearly Pfizer would be a safer and more effective option allegedly for all ages if you had a genuine choice, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) though sticking with under 60. But if you have been diagnosed with, vulnerable to or troubled by TTS and/or an underlying rare autoimmune clotting disorder, there is little doubt surely, you would be best prioritised for Pfizer regardless of age. So why the Federal government and TGA don’t get this when a GP, specialist haematologist and immunologist do, beggars belief.

People under 60 have been told they now have a choice of AstraZeneca or Pfizer, in truth people under 50 always did. The TGA and Federal Government’s messaging was always ‘preference for Pfizer’ (the wording here is both critical and deceptive). If that was not the case because of how the rollout was organised, then that messaging was a lie. Pfizer is in short supply because the Morrison government failed to order and procure an adequate supply last year, that’s a fact, and now we face the consequences till September when we are ‘promised’ it in ‘more abundance’. It is a promise from Morrison, take it and believe it as you see fit, he has a history of announcements and no delivery.

It is suggested that younger people are more at risk of blood clots from AZ, the figure we are given is 3.1/100,000 for <50yrs compared with 1.8/100,000 for 70+ and 1.4/100,000 for 60-70 or 2.7/100,00 for 50-59. This appears to be based on statistics not causation or medical science.

Examine carefully, not a lot of difference, there is only a 0.4-1.7 people/100,000 variance by age, that’s not even statistically significant. Hardly a reason to be making age the reason for the Federal government splitting AZ and Pfizer at 60yrs or indeed ‘preferencing’ and ‘forcing people down two separate pathways. Good for younger people who are at minimal risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19 maybe, but just so marginal. The TGA’s decision was based on this almost insignificantly small statistic of clotting against the far higher risk of older people to serious illness and/or death if left unvaccinated and exposed to Covid-19. The younger you are the less risk of serious illness and hospitalisation, it is this latter age-related reason that is one of two operant factors here, thus priority of vaccination was always the real issue by age, not which vaccine and/or clotting, the lie. It became an issue only because the Morrison government failed to procure adequate supply of alternative vaccines, putting all our eggs in one basket. It is argued they were not to know at the time last year, but no other OECD country has made this blunder with such blatant disregard to the obvious, hence the cautionary proverb over ‘eggs’ and not the only one ‘faced’ by the Morrison government – It’s basic common sense, risk mediation and planning. Given these facts, there is no doubt in my mind that the TGA’s second operant factor in their decision (not clearly publicly disclosed and little to do with medical science) rather it was about dodgy interpretation of statistics and supply and demand of vaccines, emphasis on supply, specifically the scarcity of imported Pfizer and abundance to be of home-produced AstraZeneca; and they knew this. But the Morrison government, this maladministration has done its level best to suppress this fact over time as ‘gold digger’ Morrison puts out his own unending bluffs and arbitrary advice. The Morrison government has in part mythologised and utterly obfuscated age, clots, health risk and vaccination to the point that too was a bag of lies that sent us all in different directions.

The Morrison government also initially declared that the ‘preferred vaccine’ for people over 50, later changed to 60 was AstraZeneca, the converse of the ‘Pfizer preference’ for under 50. Again, older people were denied access by the government online App and phone booking system to Pfizer by locking them out of the private vaccination centres (hubs) which the government contracted out, but not to GPs or the Public Health system. GPs only had access to AZ and the rollout to GPs was a farce. State Health departments had both, but were directed, coerced or chose to select their limited supplies of Pfizer for health care and frontline staff in group 1A. But why would they do that if both vaccines were equally safe and effective other than the interval period between doses?

People over 70 in Aged Care (group 1A or was it 1B?) were managed also by private companies contracted by the Federal government initially for Pfizer, and look what a mess they made of that. Many still are not vaccinated and now, quietly they get AstraZeneca not Pfizer, no announcement changes over that. So go figure – this messaging of ‘preferencing’ was grand lie to the whole population (under 60 and over). It was a mandated operation carried out in an autocratic almost military fashion; and make no mistake there is a reason why senior military personnel have been involved in the rollout. Draw your own conclusions of course, but I suggest it was to soften the public to military involvement in public affairs now and in the future. There are too few public servants and infrastructure remaining thanks to neoliberal ideology, privatisation, public sector extinction and avoidance of using all but the States’ public health system which they would have banished also if they could have. Involving senior military personnel helped them save face politically, saving the Morrison government’s electoral and collective arses. The rollout bungle was morphed into a rescue effort through the perceived efficiency of a military mission, hence also the operational names being assigned to components and phases of the national rollout, mostly mere thought bubbles – Ad hoc or planned, who knows but certainly not ordained by God or tinkering military generals well beyond their expertise and station?

So back to the beginning, where to from here? Everyone has a legitimate choice and they need to weigh up the risks and waiting times for their preference. Consult your GP of course but do not rely on what the Morrison government or Morrison and Hunt are individually telling you, and few in the mainstream media will give you a true and honest picture, grinding their own axes too – Apart from the ABC’s Dr Norman Swan, he is practically the only sensible one among them; even the AMA (Australian Medical Association) and a bevy of specialists have been all over the shop, probably protecting their institutional research grants and reputations.

It should be noted that the first dose of AstraZeneca and Pfizer provide about 33% protection from the Delta variant according to latest data analysis. But the difference comes in the protection afforded by the 2nd dose. For AZ you will have to wait 3 months between doses with 33% protection and after your 2nd dose you will emerge with around 60% protection. For Pfizer you wait 3 weeks following which you can expect 88% protection from the Delta variant and no comparable rare risk of clots whatever figure we choose to run with 1.4-3.1/100,000 (by age separation) or closer to 3-4 in the general population according to Nordic countries, and not so long ago we were told it was far less and rarer… Hmmm!

But this is a statistical phenomenon, we don’t know the true science behind it yet. Now if I were a scientist or betting man, or just an ordinary person who critically examines the evidence and asks relevant questions, my hypothesis would be that the clotting issue is more to do with how the virus and AZ vaccine interact with those who have a predisposition to rare autoimmune clotting disorders and TTS, and less if anything to do with the blunt and deviant crux and instruments of age. The real age factor here is the consequence of exposure to the virus itself, serious illness and hospitalisation, and an ageing or compromised immune system which might deliver the same consequence as those who carry the risk of TTS and related syndromes; not to be confused with more common clotting problems associated with trauma, ischaemia, surgery, pregnancy or contraceptive pill.

Mix and Match or Go for Broke

There is another consideration and option the Morrison government and TGA have not yet floated. In Germany, Canada, Spain and South Korea, and from current research out of the UK, if you have had or choose to go with AZ now rather than wait (there are clear undisputable benefits individually and to the community), choosing Pfizer or Moderna 4-12 weeks later for your second dose, affords almost as much protection from the Delta variant as double vaccination with Pfizer (around 88% cf 60% with AZ alone) and with minimal adverse risk outcomes, and a much better result for the community. At least four countries have already implemented this strategy, alas not Australia and I suspect many more will follow as alternative vaccines become more readily available and/or affordable.

If I were over 70, had significant comorbidities or carried risks of TTS whatever age I be, I’d seriously be considering and advocating this path. If I were young, I’d consider it too – gets me on the ladder earlier like now and mediate the best outcome later on my 2nd dose. But if you are over 60 and seriously troubled by TTS, then you could go for broke – That is to magically assume let’s say the age of 59 to get past the government App, and if that doesn’t work I fancy a little younger maybe at 49 (I am not sure if they have adjusted the age guillotine yet) – A momentary lapse of memory, a typo perhaps, which you can correct by entering your true date of birth later once you are through to the other side – The Pfizer side; I’m sure we can all remember that!

A younger person with TTS or indeed of any age should in my view be given priority access to an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer and bugger the age guillotine altogether – Simply not relevant in the face of Covid-19 and Delta variant on either safety or efficacy. And of course, these life-saving individual medical considerations should be decided by GPs and patients, not politicians, insensitive policies and IT Apps, the TGA and/or consequence of gross government error, incompetence or negligence – outside your jurisdiction and scope of practice.

Ask yourself what would Morrison have done if he weren’t Prime Minister and don’t be fooled by what he imagines Jesus would say? How old is Morrison anyway? The answer is 53, so how come he got past the door to Pfizer in March, 4 months ago when <50yrs was the magical age we were all told by divine decree we could access Pfizer? Do as I do not as I say.

Whatever people decide right now, whether you are over 60 at higher risk of serious illness from the Delta variant or any age with a ‘very rare’ un/diagnosed autoimmune blood clotting disorder (and you can have blood tests for these) or other potential comorbidities, Pfizer clearly delivers the best protection with least risk, as do other alternatives such as Moderna and Novavax when they become more widely available. The real issue is when will that be and what are the risks in the meantime? For many however AstraZeneca now and a mix and match option later is worth considering. Talk it over with your GP and if still you are not satisfied go for broke.

Transparency, facts and truth are not a hallmark of the Liberals or the Morrison government, and Morrison fudges and lies about everything he touches. The king of tourism and economic geography turning fibs into gold, for himself of course. The pandemic like quarantine, border control, refugees, robodebt, the Indue cashless welfare card, bushfires and global climate change are among the many critical topics in his coal bunker of precious lies. Even other Liberal bimbos like Simon Birmingham, Minister for Finance insist in having their say on public record outside of their ministerial portfolio, blowing off at Labor State premiers on this pandemic and public health, politicising anything that moves, and like Morrison, what the fuck would he know about it!

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  1. Phil Pryor

    We have been told streams of lies, torrents, floods, deluges, from the Pathetic Moron and his loyal lemming like louts and loobies. No truth exists except by accident or design for use. The drenched in superstition deviates and dills do not know know truth, only fantasy, fraud, froth. Lubricious lickspittles, like Tudge the fornicating foulmouth, can only follow the excremental example of this leading oaf.

  2. Bill

    ‘Everyone has a legitimate choice and they need to weigh up the risks and waiting times.’ Well, AZ and Pfizer are experimental and this current trial runs for about 2 yrs more. I can wait for the trial results before deciding if I can trust drug makers who have zero liability. Make the drug companies fully liable for injuries and there might be a few more takers.

  3. Pete Petrass

    Well, I am 63 and retired and since I am mostly at home I am going to wait until I can get Pfizer vaccine. I flatly refuse to take any risk on the back of Sc#ntmo’s lies and obfuscation and have the AZ vaccine.
    On the subject of lies and vaaccines I just happened to see on the news a couple of days ago when Sc#ntmo was making more announcements and he had his lickspittle moron of a General running off a bunch of statistics. And boy was I surprised when he made the most speectacular claim that Australia was 30% vaccinated (first dose allegedly). Go anywhere on the interweb, or even on A Current Affair last night (while I was waiting for the footy to start) and all evidence clearly states Australia is currently at below 5%. Now I have seen all too many lies from Sc#ntmo and his merry band of incompetents but blowing a score out from 5% to 30% just takes it to a whole new level. Maybe Sc#ntmo’s next announcement will be – go and get the AZ vaccine and we will build you a carpark???

  4. Flogga

    Unless you have access to the raw data and have done a valid significance test you cannot assert that “… not a lot of difference, there is only a 0.4-1.7 people/100,000 variance by age, that’s not even statistically significant”. What test should you use for a binary dependent variable (got a clot yes or no) and a continuous independent variable (age)? (asking for a friend). If you’re after causation, throw it into a logistic regresssion model and you’ll be on track to having your hypothesis confirmed or rejected.

  5. paul walter

    How can the Australian public keep voting these vicious thieves and liars election after election?


  6. Jon Chesterson

    Flogga – Independent variable is AstraZeneca, dependent variable reported blood clot within 28 days. Reported variance 1.4/100,000 to 3.1/100,000, widest variance between ages 50-59 and <50 respectively = 1.7/100,000 = 0.0017. P ≤ 0.05 means test hypothesis is false or should be rejected, and this is not even causative, just correlational. Okay, a raw analysis but let’s face it, 0.0017 (0.17%) doesn’t even come close to P ≤ 0.01 (1%) which might be considered more acceptable for medical drug trials. Even at face value, a variation in incidence from 1.4 to 3.1 incidents (at widest variance) in 100,000 events couldn’t possibly be regarded as significant in a non-trial data sample, notwithstanding no control for extraneous variables.

  7. Flogga

    The dependent variable is the outcome (ie clot or not). The independent variable is age – ie the hypothesis is that age affects the probability of getting a clot amongst the population of those who have had the AZ vax. The vaccine is administered to the entire population of study – it’s not a variable. You can’t do a statistical test on the ‘per 100,000’ because that is a descriptive projection – you need the raw data and without it you cannot draw the conclusion that you have (that there is no difference in the prevalence of clots between age groups). This may or may not be the case – it’s only a hypothesis until it is tested with the source data. None of this detracts from your points about the choices that were made about which vaccine to procure of course.

  8. Williambtm

    Thank you for this incisive article Jon Chesterton.
    A fact in this matter of vaccine preference is that the efficacy test results are being formed during this recent past period from the moment the Big Pharma entity’s role out had begun to deliver each vaccine.
    Unfortunately, the business model of a corporation is little other than a giant vampire Squid, its tentacles wrapped around the face of humankind with its blood-pump poised on high ready to strike deep into the nearest smell of money. Therefore test results of the available vaccines are second in line as to their harms and in their efficacy.

  9. Lawrence Roberts

    The U.K. with nearly 3 times our population and a 55% take up of mainly the AZ vaccine have had over 40 deaths from blood clots. While this can be considered as collateral damage, for every death there are another 7 patients with agonising thrombosis which will last for months.

  10. Michael Taylor

    I can’t wait for a msm journalist to remind Morrison that he said we were at the front of the queue.

    Do you think I have long to wait?

  11. Jon Chesterson

    Flogga – No point arguing here, if there is no properly conducted randomised control trial in which age was set up as the independent variable being tested, no conclusion can be drawn other than the statistics that have been quoted are not significant in determining a link between age and clotting. As to which is the independent variable, to date that would depend on the study method wouldn’t it? The trials conducted so far were to test safety and efficacy of AstraZeneca – Isn’t that the point of drug trials? What the TGA are assuming is age is a significant factor from real world statistics reported of clotting as an outcome of AstraZeneca (this implies that AZ is the independent variable by default), but this is not an RCT, so I dispute the conclusion drawn. There can be no statistical significance in this.

  12. Jon Chesterson

    Lawrence Roberts – I totally agree with you and this is what horrifies me that our government would repeat this judgement as a matter of course and suppress the reporting of it to save their bacon. UK had tens of thousands of active Covid cases, we have been closer to zero all year. Such collateral damage is far less justifiable in a Covid free environment, when there is an alternative solution; and that is address or mediate the real risk factors by not giving AstraZeneca to people who are vulnerable to autoimmune blood clotting. It is not a lot of people by their own admission, but no we are fixated on age, which has demonstrably little to do with the clotting and everything to do with protecting older people from exposure and serious illness or death. By targeting the wrong cue, an age cap, we clearly do not have enough Pfizer to go round. If we were clever about it, we could have had, because most people won’t get clots and can have AstraZeneca. Still, this argument is now running away from us as it also emerges it is less effective after two doses against the Delta variant. I think AstraZeneca is rapidly outliving its usefulness, but could still be of value if used judiciously till we have more mRNA vaccines, but not indiscriminately as it is currently being rolled out. Morrison is an idiot, manipulative liar and controls these decisions as a ruthless politician. If the TGA came up with a position that contradicted his political opinion, he would undermine them, censor them or their advice and deliver his own message, which is precisely what he has just done with them and the State Premiers, and has been doing all along.

  13. Jon Chesterson

    Michael – the only one at the front of the queue was Morrison, but you know that already as we all do.

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