COVID-19 update – 2 June 2021

2 June 2021

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COVID-19 cases

While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 in NSW, we must remain vigilant, particularly given the current Victorian outbreak and the link to a positive case identified in Victoria who had visited the Jervis Bay area and Goulburn on 23 and 24 May. See here for more information.

COVID-19 virus fragments have been detected in sewage within the Homebush network, which includes the following suburbs: Homebush West, Strathfield, Rookwood, Concord West, Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point, Newington, Lidcombe, Homebush, Silverwater, Petersham, Liberty Grove, Rhodes, North Strathfield, Concord.

COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

All general practices not currently participating in the vaccine roll-out were invited to apply to join the program on Thursday 27 May. The Expression of Interest closed on Monday 31 May at 12 noon. We anticipate that 60 practices in our region will be allocated 300 doses of AstraZeneca per fortnight and will commence vaccination from late June 2021. Practices will be prioritised for selection based on their location, access for vulnerable population groups and accreditation status.

Click here for further information on the EOI process.

Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines

GPs are encouraged to monitor advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the use and safety of COVID vaccines. The latest weekly update can be found here.

The joint statement between ATAGI and the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia (THANZ) on thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in relation to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca published on 23 May remains current. In particular, please note that recommendations for using Cominarty (Pfizer) vaccine in people over 50 years of age is limited to specific conditions. People with a history of thromboembolism in typical sites, non-immune thrombophilic disorders, ischaemic heart disease or stroke, on anticoagulants, thrombocytopenia or a family history of thromobosis or clotting conditions, can continue to receive AstraZeneca vaccine.

Please do not refer patients to state vaccine hubs for Comirnaty vaccine unless they have one of the conditions that ATAGI recommends have the Pfizer vaccine. Non-eligible patients will not be given Comirnaty unless they meet ATAGI criteria, even if referred by their GP.

GP delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to new residents in Aged Care facilities

There may be instances where new or existing residents in Aged Care facilities have not received a COVID-19 vaccination through the Commonwealth in-reach vaccine program. GPs now have the opportunity to deliver AstraZeneca vaccine to these residents who are in the vulnerable population. 

Considerations that need to be applied include:

  • Ensuring all reporting requirements are met, such as uploading administration data into AIR, and maintaining appropriate medical records per vaccination assessment/administration.
  • Maintenance of vaccine cold-chain integrity during transport and at the site of the administration to ensure vaccine potency. Please see the following links:

We encourage eligible GPs to communicate with Aged Care facilities that they usually service to discuss the opportunity to support new and existing residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

Although co-administration of a seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not routinely recommended (the recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is a minimum interval between the two vaccinations of 14 days), there are circumstances where shortening this interval is justified. Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has strongly recommended that residents and staff in residential aged care settings are vaccinated as quickly as possible against COVID-19, regardless of when they received their influenza vaccination. 

Click here to read Professor Kelly’s recommendations in full.

 

 

 

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