Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is currently underway.
You will be aware of the recent side effect concerns regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine (this is the COVID-19 vaccine General Practices have been provided with) for those less than 50 years of age. Please see the end of this blog for information regarding this. You can also read the latest government information here.
Our co-located Midtown Medical Clinic will be providing COVID-19 vaccines from Monday the 12th of April 2021. We are being provided with a very limited number of vaccines and appointments may need to be scheduled several weeks in advance.
Appointments can be made online by booking with our two vaccine providers (please try both links):
A consent form must be completed at the time of booking your appointment. This consent form will be securely sent to us to import directly into your medical file. The consent form is quite detailed and is designed to contain all information for your COVID vaccination provider to refer to. We strongly recommend you book your second COVID vaccine at the same time. This should be three months after your first vaccine. Please note there should be at least two weeks between your COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine (or any other vaccine).
For your convenience we will be conducting dedicated vaccination clinics during business hours. You MAY also have the opportunity to have the vaccine during the course of your regular consultation.
It is important to note that the vaccine must be administered to the public in stages – the highest risk & most vulnerable first, through to those at a lower risk. Not everyone will be able to receive the vaccine at the same time. Two doses of the vaccine are required, 12 weeks apart. You can check to see in which phase you will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by using the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker. If you are eligible, you can arrange an appointment. If you are not eligible, the vaccine cannot be provided to you yet.
If you are new to our clinic and attend for COVID-19 vaccination, you may need to provide evidence of your eligibility (medical history, occupation or age) before you can receive the vaccine. This evidence can be an identification card, proof of current employment, a letter from your usual Doctor, or by ensuring that your My Health Record contains a current Shared Health Summary which we can access during your consultation.
If you request a COVID-19 vaccine to be provided during the course of a standard consultation with your doctor, the eligibility criteria must be checked and if you do not meet that criteria, the vaccine cannot be provided. The eligibility rules are very strict.
Phases of COVID-19 Vaccine provision:
Phase 1a (currently underway)
- Quarantine and border workers including staff at entry points to the country (such as sea ports and land borders; staff working in quarantine facilities, including those employed under Commonwealth, state or private agreements; and Commonwealth employees (including Defence personnel) who are identified as having the potential to encounter returning travellers as part of their work.
- Frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation including frontline staff in facilities or services such as hospital emergency departments, COVID-19 and respiratory wards, Intensive Care Units and High-dependence Units; laboratory staff handling potentially infectious material; ambulance and paramedics service; GP respiratory clinics and COVID-19 testing facilities.
- Aged care and disability care staff.
- Aged care and disability care residents.
Phase 1b (due to commence 22nd March 2021)
- Elderly adults aged 80 years and over
- Elderly adults aged 70 – 79 years
- Other health care workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people > 55 years
- Adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability
- Critical and high risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing
Phase 2a (likely to commence June or July 2021)
- Adults aged 60- 69 years
- Adults aged 50 – 59 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18 – 54 years
- Other critical and high risk workers
- Balance of the adult population
- Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases
- < 18 years if recommended
Whether you are in a priority group or not, the best thing you can do is stay up to date and continue to be COVIDSafe. The Australian Government continue to provide further information about how vaccines will roll out over coming months.
In the meantime we all need to:
- practise good hygiene
- maintain physical distance
- stay home if you are sick and get tested
- download the COVIDSafe app
What is this side effect that everyone is talking about associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine?
There is evidence of a likely link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia).
The recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is that use of Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) is preferred over AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in adults under 50 years old who have not already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?
Yes. The individual benefit-to-risk balance of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine varies with age. This balance is based on factors including the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age and the potential lower risk of this very rare, but serious, adverse event with increasing age. ATAGI has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe to be given to people aged 50 years and over.
I have had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, what do I do now?
If you have had your first vaccine dose without this side effect or other serious adverse effects, you should receive your second dose as planned.
What if I am worried about side effects?
If you have recently had your first vaccine dose and are experiencing any side effects that you are worried about, you should book an appointment to see your doctor.
I’m booked in for my first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, what do I do?
If you are an adult aged under 50 years, you should only receive a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine where the benefit of receiving the vaccine clearly outweighs the risk in your individual circumstance. You MUST discuss your individual benefit-to-risk balance with your doctor prior to attending a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Generally, if you have not already received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, then the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is preferred in adults aged under 50 years.
Information about how to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available shortly.
If you would like to talk about this with your doctor, you should make an appointment to do so.
If you are 50 years of age or older, you can still receive your AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Feel free to contact us on 9650 9372 if you have any queries at all about the COVID-19 vaccine.