COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID vaccine rollout

Family Doctors Plus is participating in the COVID vaccine rollout. Everyone over the age of 5 years is now eligible for a COVID vaccine. We currently offer the Pfizer Comirnaty COVID vaccine for ages 5 and above. Please don’t call us for a booking, instead please book online through: https://www.familydoctorsplus.com.au/appointments/

Children 5-11 years of age are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine and receive 2 doses 8 weeks apart. The second dose can be provided sooner (from 3 weeks) in special circumstances for high risk groups. If you want to discuss the vaccines or have any concerns we request you make an appointment with your GP prior to the vaccine clinic. More information on COVID vaccines in children can be found here.

We need to keep the phone lines open for people who have medical issues and request you book your vaccine appointment online. We request you only phone if you don’t have internet access or having issues making an online booking. Please note you can have a COVID vaccine at the same time as an Influenza vaccine. You can book for both vaccines online through the link above.

For more information on COVID vaccines please visit health.gov.au

As per ATAGI statement (ATAGI clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers, 27/4/2022): COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 5 years or older to protect against COVID-19. For most people, a primary vaccination course consists of 2 doses.

A third primary dose is recommended for people aged 5 years or older with severe immunocompromise. See considerations for special populations: people who are immunocompromised.

A single booster dose is recommended for people aged 16 years or older, 3 months after the primary course.

On 25 March 2022, ATAGI recommended an additional winter booster dose (4th dose for most people) for the highest risk groups: people aged 65 years and above, residents of aged care or disability care facilities, people with severe immunocompromise and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or above.
ATAGI has reviewed this and now recommends that additional population groups should receive a winter booster dose, 4 months after their first booster dose:
• People aged 16-64 years who have complex, chronic or severe conditions that are considered to increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (please click here for more information or speak with your doctor to see if this applies to you).

ATAGI recommended this change to ensure those who are at greater risk of developing severe disease receive the best possible protection. The following groups are currently not recommended to receive an additional winter booster dose:
• healthy people aged 16 to 64 years of age who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19
• women who are pregnant without any other comorbidity that increases their risk of severe COVID-19
• people from occupational groups, such as healthcare workers, who do not have any other comorbidity that increases their risk of severe COVID-19.

See booster dose recommendations. The evidence underpinning booster dose recommendations will continue to be reviewed by ATAGI and this clinical guidance may be refined.

In Australia, vaccination is strongly recommended for the following groups:

  • people with occupational risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, such as frontline healthcare workers, quarantine and border workers, aged care and disability care staff, and critical and high-risk workers
  • residents of aged care and disability care facilities
  • older adults
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19
  • pregnant women

For more information click here. 

People with a past SARS-CoV-2/COVID infection

All people are recommended to defer COVID-19 vaccination for 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, to optimise protection for that person. The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible. All recommended doses should still be received, and no doses should be omitted from the schedule.

The risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant is very low within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection. The Delta variant is no longer circulating in Australia. This advice may change if future variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge.

Vaccination is likely to enhance the protection induced by infection. The interval between infection and vaccination enhances the protection from vaccination by further boosting the immune response, including immune memory response, generated following infection11.

An individual may be vaccinated earlier than the recommended 3-month interval in exceptional circumstances, such as prior to starting an immunosuppressant, prior to overseas travel or if someone cannot reschedule vaccination easily (e.g. outreach vaccination program).

People treated with an anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies can be used for treatment in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or as pre or post -exposure prophylaxis. When given following infection, ATAGI does not recommend a specific minimum time to defer vaccination due to monoclonal antibody therapy. However, people are still recommended to follow guidance to defer vaccination for 3 months following infection (see People with a past SARS-CoV-2 infection).

As with all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccination should be deferred in people who are acutely unwell.

Timing of administration of other vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (that is, given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine. Studies demonstrate the safety and immunogenicity of co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.

 

 

You can find other COVID vaccine clinics online through the eligibility checker on health.gov.au, or through the Qld Health Website.  If you don’t have a valid Medicare Card we request you book through Qld Health or a GP respiratory clinic. You can find these via:

https://www.vaccinebookings.health.qld.gov.au/registerforvaccination/

Source: ATAGI statement 27/4/22: Clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines

Eligible population groups include:

  • Everyone over the age of 5 years.

AstraZeneca Vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccination program

The Australian Government received advice and recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the AstraZeneca vaccine. There has been a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a condition involving thrombosis (blood clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts). This is an extremely rare condition. More information on what this means can be found at www.health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines. This recommendation is made out of an abundance of caution and the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for the vast majority of people. For more information weighing up the potential benefit vs risk of harm from COVID 19 vaccine Astra Zeneca from the Dept of Health click here.

How to book into the COVID vaccination clinic at Family Doctors Plus?

If you are eligible for a COVID vaccine and hold a valid Medicare card you are able to book a COVID vaccine appointment through the appointment link above. If you are booking for an additional booster dose due to a medical condition (eg severe immunocompromise) we request you bring a letter from your GP confirming your eligibility if you are not a patient of this practice.

If you have queries about the vaccine, are unsure if you should have it, have concerns or have a history of problems with vaccines we request you book a consultation to speak with your GP first before you book your online COVID vaccination clinic appointment.

Proof of eligibility

Patients no longer require proof of eligibility as everyone over the age of 5 and over is now eligible. We do request you bring a letter from your GP if you are booking for a 3rd dose if you have a condition causing severe immunocompromise.

Frequently asked questions

The latest recommendation from ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) from their statement released on 27/4/22:

COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (that is, given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine. Studies demonstrate the safety and immunogenicity of co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines can also be co-administered with other vaccines if required.

This includes routine childhood and adolescent vaccines. The benefits of ensuring timely vaccination and maintaining high vaccine uptake outweigh any potential risks associated with immunogenicity, local adverse reactions or fever.

There is limited evidence on the safety and effectiveness of co-administering COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as other vaccines. Providers need to balance the opportunistic need for co-administration with the benefits of giving the vaccines on separate visits. There is the potential for an increase in mild to moderate adverse events when more than one vaccine is given at the same time. Co-administration or near administration (e.g. within days) with another vaccine may also make it challenging to attribute potential adverse events. Providers should ensure that parents/guardians of young children receiving COVID-19 vaccines are aware of the increased potential for local reactions.

Please notify us if you are sick with any symptoms (fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea) so we can rebook your appointment. As per ATAGI-as with all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccination should be deferred in people who are acutely unwell.

You will need to bring:

  • ID-driver’s licence or passport
  • Current Medicare Card (if you don’t have one, you will need to register with one of the health hubs for your vaccination. General Practices can only provide vaccinations to people with Medicare cards)
  • Pen
  • Please wear a short sleeve shirt to allow us access to your upper arm for the vaccine
  • Please follow the signs and register with our receptionist
  • You will need to be observed for 15 to 30 minutes depending on your medical history. Please allow sufficient time for your appointment. We cannot proceed with the vaccine if you are unable to be observed for up to 30min afterwards.
  • You may need to wear a face mask depending on the risk of COVID in the community at the time

You will be able to access proof of vaccination from:

We request you access your vaccination history by these means rather than calling our receptionists. Please allow 48 hours for your vaccine details to be uploaded.

For more information on the COVID vaccine please go to www.health.gov.au or speak with your doctor.

COVID vaccines and the vaccination consultation are free as they are subsidised by the Australian Government. Usual fees apply for other vaccines (eg Influenza vaccine) and consultation types.

While everyone who is living in Australia is funded to receive a vaccine, funding for vaccinations in general practice is limited to those who have a valid Medicare Card. If you are not eligible for Medicare or don’t have a valid Medicare Card, you can receive a vaccine at no cost at Commonwealth funded GP Respiratory Clinics (the list is here https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-phase-1b-commonwealth-gp-led-respiratory-clinics) or at (yet to be established) State funded vaccine clinics.

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