Australia’s most populous state said on Friday it has temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine following updated advice from the federal government.

New South Wales (NSW) said inoculations using the AstraZeneca vaccine will be paused for a few hours while it updates its advice to patients allowing them to give informed consent.

However, NSW Health said it had ‘temporarily paused’ giving it to anyone until it could update its informed consent information.

‘Following the new advice from the Commonwealth last night, informed consent information will be updated to provide patients and those administering the AstraZeneca vaccine with the latest information,’ it said.

A spokesperson said the vaccine would become available again to people aged 50 and over later on Friday.

‘As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required before administering COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring recipients make decisions based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.’

The recommendation by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) was accepted by the federal government under an ‘abundance of caution’ over the ‘rare but serious’ side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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