Qanda on COVID: Dr Norman Swan says vaccine fears amid clotting ‘not irrational’

A leading doctor says young people fearing the jab is “not irrational,” and there’s a sliding scale of risk between thrusts and COVID-19.

Dr. Norman Swan has spoken out on the clotting cases linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying that hesitation in having the jab is “not irrational at all”.

Appearing on Q&A, the medical journalist and Coronacast host pointed out, “as you get younger, your risk of dying of COVID diminishes quite rapidly, but also, the risk from the vaccine seems to go up”.

Health worker Jessica Patti said despite being pro-vaccination, she felt “hesitant about receiving it”.

“I’m especially concerned about potential effects on fertility, as I hope to have more children,” Ms. Patti said. She said recent reports of blood clots in young people had caused her further concern.

“What’s to say that there won’t be more long-term side effects revealed over time?”

Dr. Swan said vaccine hesitancy instead of being an “anti-vaxxer” was “entirely understandable”.

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“Your concerns are rational. So they’re not irrational at all,” Dr. Swan said.

“It’s true that, as time goes on, you can find out the long-term effects. The reality with these vaccines is that they’ve actually been approved around about the same point of study as most other vaccines have been in the past. It’s just that this all happened quickly because there have been so many people able to be recruited to trials.”

He said that about 780 million people have been immunized, and there are “a lot of vaccines out there”, but they have been developed “in a short space of time”.

‘Give it some serious consideration.’

Addressing the blood clotting problem identified with the AstraZeneca jab, Dr. Swan said under-50s should weigh up their decision.

“I think that, if you’re under 50, you’ve got to give it some serious consideration,” he said. “And potentially today, there’s a third (clotting) case.”|

Dr. Swan said individuals had to consider multiple factors, which carried different risks for different people.

“As you get younger, your risk of dying of COVID diminishes quite rapidly.

“But also, the risk from the vaccine seems to go up. And where the balance seems to lie is about the age of 50. And you are well under 50,” Dr. Swan said, addressing healthcare worker Ms. Patti.

“So for you, in a country where there’s not much COVID around if you’re uncomfortable about that risk — which is probably around about 1-in-200,000 — you should wait.”

Dr. Swan also addressed concerns around AstraZeneca and fertility, saying a potential problem had been “put about” because of a “theoretical cross-reaction with a placental antibody or something like that”.

He dismissed this, saying: “If that had been the case, there would have been more problems early on with miscarriages, for example, and there haven’t been those cases, even though there hasn’t been a trial on pregnant women.”

Dr. Swan said he was particularly concerned for healthcare workers like Ms. Patti, who he felt should be provided the Pfizer vaccine.

He said he also felt it was rational for others to take the AstraZeneca vaccine because the “risks are incredibly low”.


Effie F. Bush is a 27-year-old junior manager who enjoys praying, social card games, and listening to music. She is inspiring and brave, but can also be very disloyal and a bit unfriendly.She is an Australian Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a post-graduate degree in business studies.

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