COVID-19 update – 25 January 2022

 

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COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last four weeks there were 143 821 casesof COVID in the region. Please note that the actual number of cases is likely to be much more. For further information please go to Latest NSW COVID statistics.

Vaccination and previous COVID infection

The Australian Technical and Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) continues to advise that previous infection is not a contraindication to vaccination and vaccination can occur following recovery of acute illness from COVID-19.

People who have had COVID-19 can be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine once they recover from the acute illness. There is no requirement to delay vaccination, however vaccination can be deferred for up to 4 months as past infection reduces the chance of reinfection for at least this amount of time. For more information see ATAGI expanded guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine approved

 

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has been approvedfor use in a primary course of vaccination in people aged 18 years and older. Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a spike protein-based vaccine. Each 0.5mL dose contains 5 micrograms of the of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and 50 micrograms of Matrix-M as an adjuvant.

  • ATAGI recommends that Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be used for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in people aged 18 or older.
  • The recommended schedule for administration is 2 doses, a minimum of 3 weeks apart.
  • Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is not currently recommended for use as a booster vaccine.

CESPHN sent out an expression of interest to general practices wanting to deliver Novavax in the first window from mid to late February – this EOI closes on Wednesday 25 January.  After this first delivery remaining practices who wish to administer Novavax will be progressively onboarded. 

Resources: ATAGI statement on the use of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid)

Information sheet: COVID-19 vaccination – Information on COVID-19 Novavax vaccine

New treatments for COVID-19

Two anti-viral COVID-19 treatments approved

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has given provisional approval for two oral treatments for COVID-19; Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid® (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir).  

These treatments have been found to be effective in treating people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who have a high risk of progressing to severe disease, reducing admissions to hospital and ICU and potential death.  

As supplies increase it is expected that these treatments will transition to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and be available on prescription.

Booster dose interval

Booster doses are available for those who completed their primary course of COVID-19 vaccination 3 or more months ago, using either the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna – half dose) vaccine for anyone aged 18 and older. 

Further information see Commonwealth: COVID-19 booster vaccine advice and NSW Health: Booster vaccination  Practices are reminded to take all opportunities to ensure vulnerable people and communities, including older people and residents of residential aged care facilities (RACFs), pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals receive a booster dose, in line with ATAGI recommendations.

COVID-19 care in the community

With the increasing numbers of COVID cases, low risk immunised patients (the majority of people) are being asked to self-manage at home. People who test positive to COVID (via PCR test or who report their positive RAT test) are receiving an SMS from NSW Health and asked to complete a brief survey that identifies those patients considered high risk.

High risk patients will be managed by the local health district virtual care units.

Accessing pulse oximeters

Distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health districts. CESPHN have access to a small supply. GPs with patients they believe require a pulse oximeter urgently are asked to emailpulseoximeter@cesphn.com.au with their name and address and we will arrange delivery of an oximeter.Practices actively seeing moderate risk COVID positive patients can also be sent up to five pulse oximeters.

Upcoming webinars

Monday 31 January 7.00pm: RACGP and NSW Health COVID-19 update.

The webinar will discuss:

  • COVID-19 management
  • Vaccination and guideline updates
  • GP helpline update 

Register now: https://racgp.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_J4FwLAwkToG4X8smaunx2Q

Vaccination appointments for vulnerable groups

The following clinics are available for COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable groups in the region.

  • Lexo 
    The Hub, Lexington Place, South Maroubra  
    Fridays 10.00 am – 2.00 pm 
    This clinic is for people living locally in social housing or experiencing or at risk of homelessness. No appointment needed. 
  • Northcott 
    Northcott Community Centre, Belvoir St, Surry Hills 
    Mondays 10.00 am – 2.00 pm 
    This clinic is for people living locally in social housing or experiencing or at risk of homelessness. No appointment needed. 

CESPHN Vax at Home Service

Some people in our community may not be able to access a GP or vaccination hub to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The CESPHN Vax at Home Service is ONLY for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster (their carers will also be able to be vaccinated). 

Patient self-referrals will NOT be accepted. Patients should speak with their GP for referral to this program if appropriate. Referrals will be accepted from general practitioners and from Local Health Districts. 

Referrals for people who live in the Sydney Local Health District and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District can be emailed to vaxathomeservice@cesphn.com.au

Referrals should include:

  • Name of patient
  • Patient’s residential address and contact details
  • Name of usual GP
  • Contact details of any carers
  • Vaccine status e.g.: Ist dose, 2nd dose, booster
  • Which vaccine required
  • Confirmation that:
    • patient is housebound and not able to access a COVID vaccine elsewhere
    • you have obtained the patients consent to send this information to CESPHN.

This service is now operational and accepting referrals (please note there might be some delays as we respond to demand). 

Additional PPE available

Vaccinating pharmacists 

Pharmacists who are undertaking vaccinations may also receive a bundle of Personal Protective Equipment from our PHN that will support them for the next 4 weeks. Within this bundle each pharmacist is able to receive 90 N95 respirators and one set of goggles or a face shield. Following this initial bundle each pharmacist will be able to order N95 respirators until 31 March 2022. To order this PPE for your pharmacist click here

General practice and community pharmacies

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packages including surgical and N95/P2 masks, are available for community pharmacies and those GPs who continue to see their patients within their practices. PPE guidelines can be found here. CESPHN will continue to distribute these supplies. To order PPE for your practice or pharmacy click here 

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