WA chief health officer Andrew Robertson says a letter he penned to the heads of five WA Health Department units last month noting the non-reporting of “severe and serious” adverse reactions to Covid vaccines was only to remind them to keep WA authorities in the loop.
The letter has been circulating amongst vaccination skeptics; the Herald received a copy along with screenshots from social media sites where some nurses from Melbourne have claimed doctors are not reporting conditions they believe are linked to vaccinations.
“The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee has recognised that some severe and serious AEFIs have not been reported via the appropriate channels,” Dr Robertson’s letter read.
“Medical practitioners who become aware of a suspected serious AEFI have a statutory responsibility to notify the WA Department of Health within 72 hours of diagnosis…”
Dr Robertson told the Herald the reactions were being reported, but some were going directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, “which is not discouraged”. But he said the safety committee also needed to be informed.
“…the issue is important because we want to ensure timely investigation of any potentially serious AEFI in our state,” Dr Robertson said.
“Historically, most vaccinations were provided to children by clinicians who routinely treat young children, who are well versed in how to report suspected AEFI,” while Covid vaccines were mostly targeted at adults.
“The department is developing a Vaccine Safety Datalink system that will greatly enhance our ability to monitor vaccine safety in near-real time,” Dr Robertson said.