Qld to restart Torres Strait vaccine drive

Queensland will restart the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Torres Strait Islands.
Queensland will restart the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Torres Strait Islands.

The Queensland government will restart the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Torres Strait Islands next month amid concerns about the AstraZeneca jab.

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service put the brakes on the region's rollout last week following medical advice recommending AstraZeneca be avoided for people under 50 due to the risk of extremely rare but serious blood clots.

There has been concern over the pause in the border islands, some of which are visible from Papua New Guinea which surpassed 10,000 virus cases earlier this week.

TCHHS chief executive Beverley Hamerton says the vaccine drive will restart when a special fridge to store the Pfizer dose arrives in the region.

She says most of the region's relatively young population will get the Pfizer vaccine except for 992 people who have already received their first dose of AstraZeneca.

"Everyone who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca without any adverse effects will be offered a second dose of the same vaccine," Ms Hamerton said.

"We will not be offering Pfizer to community members who have already had a dose of AstraZeneca."

The hospital and health service will also hold meetings across the region to address any questions or concerns.

Ms Hamerton said vaccination was still the safest way forward in the border region.

"We hope our communities will be able to move past the recent uncertainty relating to the AstraZeneca vaccine and appreciate the very real benefits for individuals and communities of being vaccinated against coronavirus," she said.

Meanwhile, a Queensland police sergeant is back on duty after recovering from blood clots he developed three days after receiving a Pfizer vaccine.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration and health authorities are still investigating whether there's any link between the man's condition and the vaccine.

The 40-year-old officer had suffered deep vein thrombosis after knee surgery in 2009, but recovered in less than 12 months.

The sergeant, who worked patrolling the state's quarantine hotels, received the vaccine on Sunday.

"Shortly after, symptoms developed which warranted further medical attention," police said in a statement on Friday.

"Federal health authorities are working to determine if there is a link between the sergeant receiving the vaccination and symptoms he experienced shortly after.

"He is now back on duty."

Pfizer said it closely monitored all reports of adverse reactions and shared relevant information with the TGA.

It said there was no evidence that clots were a risk associated with the use of its vaccine.

So far three people have developed clots in Australia after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

They include 48-year-old Genene Norris who died in NSW last week, with the TGA saying her death was likely linked to her vaccination.

The other two who developed blood clots likely linked to their AstraZeneca jab are a woman in Western Australia and a man in Victoria, both in their 40s.

At least 14 people in Australia have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, but none have developed blood clots.

Meanwhile, positive COVID-19 wastewater has been detected at the Noosa treatment plant.

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and health service says it's possible the detection relates to previous COVID-19 cases that shed viral fragments.

Public health physician Dr Penny Hutchinson said anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, should get tested.

Australian Associated Press