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Covid-19 Vaccination

This page was last updated on 18/03/2021 at 12pm AEST

Kirrawee Family Medical Practice will be a vaccination site for the Covid-19 vaccination roll out strategy. 

We are expecting to receive vaccines in Mid April. 

If you are eligible, you can book your vaccine one of three ways

  1. book online if you fit the eligibility criteria and are happy to proceed

  2. book in a Telehealth appointment with a GP at KFMP if you need to discuss eligibility, or if you have any questions. The GP will discuss these with you, and book you in for your covid and influenza vaccines if appropriate

  3. During your next face to face appointment with your GP, discuss with them if you are eligible, and they will schedule your vaccination appointment if appropriate.

Please note these vaccines initially will be in very limited supply and those at highest risk will be vaccinated first. Trust that we will be endeavouring to vaccinate you as soon as supply allows.

The Australian Government has commenced vaccination of our population. It will be a staged rollout, commencing with the first priority populations. 

Plans from the Australian government are available here and news and information here. For information in multiple languages, check out the SBS page. 

 

For information on sites in your state, click on the following links, which will be updated as announcements are made: Qld NSW ACT Vic Tas SA NT WA

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

No 

 

GPs will only be administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.  Source

 

Should I have the Covid-19 and influenza vaccine at the same time?

No

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have recommended against it:

  • We don't know if this is safe

  • We are unsure if this will affect the immune response to each vaccine

  • If side effects occur, we won't know which vaccine was responsible for which side effect

  • A gap of at least 14 days has been recommended

More information is available here 

 

Can I have the vaccine if I am allergic to eggs?

Yes

There is no egg in any of the currently available vaccines. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has more information about allergies and Covid-19 vaccines here

 

I'm pregnant or breast feeding, should I have the vaccine?

That depends…

Our case numbers in Australia and New Zealand are very, very low, so unless you are a front line airline, quarantine, border or health care worker, the chance of you coming in contact with Covid-19 is seriously low:

  • When drug companies do research, they never start by including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as no one can ever give a 100% guarantee that something won’t go wrong

    • this includes the drug companies behind the Covid-19 vaccines

  • We have decades of experience in using vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding women and not only have they been shown to be safe, some (influenza and whooping cough) are actively recommended in pregnancy

  • In giving their approval for Covid-19 vaccines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia notes that pregnancy is NOT a contraindication, however they note that data is lacking.

 

For now though, if you live in Australia or New Zealand or other countries with very low Covid-19 rates and you are pregnant, unless you are in a high-risk job, it is not recommended that you have the vaccine until we know more. If you are in a high-risk job, working in an area with high levels of community transmission AND you can’t change your job, RANZCOG does recommend you be offered vaccination

If you are at higher risk of Covid-19 complications (e.g. if you have high blood pressure, kidney and/or heart failure, diabetes, are overweight, your immune system is suppressed and/or you are older) do consider your role at work - if you are in a high-risk job, could you change your role to reduce exposure to Covid-19?

 

There is a growing pool of evidence emerging from overseas where pregnant or breastfeeding women who are in high-risk situations have had the vaccine and we are waiting on the publication of their outcomes to better inform the recommendations.

If you are planning a pregnancy, it is considered safe to have the vaccine and you don’t have to wait before trying to fall pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, it is also considered safe to have the vaccine.

 

When will I be able to get a vaccine?

  • 1b, from Mid April at Kirrawee Family Medical Practice

  • 1b in hospital hubs, and respiratory clinics from early April ​

    • this is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which has been TGA approved, - 300 000 doses arrived on the 28th of February, it can be manufactured in Australia, so once manufacturing ramps up, it should be widely available. There will be a number of locations around the nation (but not every GP surgery) and likely some mobile clinics going into the smaller communities.

    • a second shot is due 4-12 weeks (ATAGI have recommended 12 weeks) after the first (it is a good idea to book both appointments at the same time)

 

If you are in a nursing or disability care home

  • 1a, from 22nd of February (as the Pfizer vaccine becomes more available) - this will take time to reach residents across the nation, with the vaccination rollout managed by the Australian Government Health department.

 

If you are over 70, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander over 55

  • 1b

    • Specific resources are available here

 

If you are over 50, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander age 18 - 54

  • 2a, probably June-July 2021

 

If you are 18 - 50

  • 2b, the second half of 2021. Yet to be decided, but the plan is to have every eligible Australian who wants to have the vaccine immunised by the end of 2021

 

If you are under 18

  • 3, perhaps you won’t be immunised. We don’t know yet if this would be helpful, so will have to see what the science says in the months and years ahead.

 

Those with underlying medical conditions

Immunocompromised people, including those that have:

  • Solid organ transplant who are on immunotherapy

  • Adult survivor of childhood cancer

  • Bone marrow transplant recipient 

  • haematological disease or cancer (diagnosed in the last 5 years or recently completed active therapy)

  • Non – haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 5 years)

  • Chronic inflammatory disease on medical treatment (including SLE, RA, Crones, UC on DMARD or immunosuppressive therapy, not including people living with OA, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome)

  • Mental health condition (including schizophrenia, and bipolar)

  • Chronic kidney disease (not mild-moderate)

  • Heart disease (including IHD, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary HT)

  • Chronic lung disease (COPD, CF, interstitial Lung disease, not including mild nor moderate asthma)

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity (BMI over 40)

  • Chronic liver disease

  • Neurological disease (stroke, dementia, MS, MND, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, not migraine or headache)

  • Hypertension (on 2 or more agents)

  • Down syndrome 

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • traumatic brain or spinal injury

 

Are the vaccines safe?

All the evidence so far is that they are very safe. Australia is in the fortunate position of not having high numbers of people getting sick, our hospitals are not overwhelmed and we have been able to wait a little and see what is happening with the international roll out of the vaccines. As of March 6, 2021, 292 Million vaccines have been given around the world (Source) and with such high numbers, even rare side effects will emerge.

The ABC are tracking the number of vaccines given in Australia, so if you want to check where we are up to, click here

So far, so good. Yes, we have to be aware of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis (11.1 cases per 1 000 000 vaccinations). The TGA have reviewed concerns about giving the vaccine to frail elderly people, and they are confident it is safe. So no, there is nothing emerging from the millions of doses given that makes us think they are dangerous. 

FAQs from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). For information from the Australian Academy of Science, click here
If you have had your vaccine and have side effects, you can track your symptoms and get good, practical advice here

 

Author: Dr Rebekah Hoffman

Sourced from GP-can.com.au, Local PHN and NSW Health.

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