As the state approaches its targets on double vaccination rates, conflicting advice is being given around how quickly second doses of AstraZeneca should be administered in the Riverina.
In recent months, the recommended 12-week wait for a second dose of Astrazeneca was shortened to four to six weeks across the state by NSW Health to accelerate protection rates.
The federal Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network, however, is continuing to recommend a 12 week interval because the ATAGI advice only recommends shorter timeframes in "outbreak areas".
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In Wagga, where you book determines how long you wait.
Several GP clinics are offering second doses at eight weeks, but the federal hub in Glenrock is continuing with a 12 week wait.
Meanwhile, some pharmacies in the city are giving the dose six weeks apart, which is in line with NSW Health's recommendation.
Dr Rachel Glasson runs the Blamey Street Surgery, where they are offering second doses at eight weeks because of the ongoing outbreaks surrounding the region.
"We chose to do eight weeks to get people fully vaccinated with high protection sooner in case Wagga became the next hot spot," Dr Glasson said.
"In an ideal world, 12 weeks would be the perfect interval for an AstraZeneca second dose but we're not living in an ideal world. We have an outbreak circling us like a shark so we need to do what we can to protect the community."
Dr Glasson said there is confusion among practitioners because of differing advice from state and federal bodies.
"There's a lot of uncertainty and part of that is a lack of agreement between Federal and State governments," she said. "It's really hard to get a consensus."
Vaccine efficacy is impacted by the dose interval - at six to eight weeks there is 59.9 per cent protection against infection, while at 12 weeks there is 81.3 per cent. The lowered risk of serious illness and death is believed to be the same regardless of the interval used.
Dr Ayman Shenouda who runs the Federal vaccine hub at Glenrock Country Practice said they are allowing for some exceptions but don't plan on shortening the 12 week timeframe.
"We prefer the 12 weeks while we are not a hotspot area because it gives the patient the best immunity," Dr Shenouda said.
He said for workers required to have full vaccination to work, they will lower the interval to a minimum of four weeks but won't be offering the shorter timeframe to everyone.
The pressure for region-wide double vaccination has intensified in recent weeks, after it was confirmed that current freedoms experienced by all MLHD residents will be rolled back for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated residents when the state hits 70 per cent double dose.
The measure will bring the region into line with the rest of the state where fully vaccinated residents will enjoy relaxed restrictions, while those without both doses will be under stricter rules.
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