Health Dept’s latest on Covid

Phase 1B General Practice Vaccine Rollout. Update – 25 March 2021.

Key messages from Department of Health:

• All Week 2 GP sites have been notified that their details will go live on COVID-19 Vaccine Service Finder today on Thursday 25 March.

• The ATAGI COVID-19 Working Group have now provided advice on pre-drawing AztraZeneca vials into syringes prior to commencing a vaccination session.

• There will shortly be guidance on the use of excess doses (i.e. where doses remain at the end of a session and will expire before the next session) on the Department’s website.

• There are three matters that we would appreciate your assistance in communicating out to practices:

  1. We have anecdotal reports of practices charging patients to see a doctor prior to their vaccination booking. The below message is currently on our website:

Vaccination providers cannot charge to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is free for everyone in Australia and the consult appointment for patients to receive their vaccinations is also free. Charging a patient any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees) is a breach of the requirements under the program.

  1. There have been some questions about the granular eligibility for Phase 1b, particularly as it relates to people under the age of 18. Further information on under 18s will be available shortly. Please note the AstraZeneca vaccine is provisionally approved for immunisation of individuals 18 years and older. Current eligibility guidance can be found on the Department’s website, including the below message for practices:

If you’re under 18, you cannot currently book through the COVID-19 Vaccine Service Finder. Further information on booking a vaccination will be available soon.

1 3. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have reviewed their advice on the suitability of COVID-19 vaccination in people with history of clotting conditions.

They continue to recommend vaccination in people with blood clotting conditions both with AstraZeneca and Pfizer and maintain the benefits far outweigh any risks.

Out of an abundance of caution and only until further information from ongoing investigations in Europe is available, ATAGI has recommended that people with a confirmed medical history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) or a confirmed medical history of heparin induced thrombocytopenia defer vaccination while evidence specific to them is considered. You can read the ATAGI advice in full here.

It is important to note that this advice is highly precautionary and this condition is extremely rare in the community.

Key reminders:

• Clinics should go to the Online Stock Management Portal and complete:

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stock acceptance forms on the day of delivery; and stock management forms every Friday by 9pm.

• Week 3 orders were due midnight yesterday (24 March 2021). Orders submitted after that date will not be delivered until after Week 3 commences (on the week of 5 April 2021)

• Week 4 invitations will go out shortly – more information to come in the next edition of this update.

New resources available on the website:

• Up to date clinical guidance and information for COVID-19 vaccination providers can be found here.

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