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Novel Coronavirus information: Latest news for general practices

While first published in January 2020, this page is continually being added to and updated.

Novel coronavirus is an evolving international health concern. We are publishing regular updates on this page, but encourage health professionals to also view the Coronavirus for health professionals section of our website.

COVID-19 Statistics for our region

COVID-19 Mapping and Triage Process

The Department of Health have developed triaging process and scenario mapping for residential aged care facilities to navigate and manage various scenarios that may arise during the COVID-19 vaccine program roll-out. This document also includes information on the excess dose policy for Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in residential aged care facilities.

3 March Update

GP Vaccination EOI Update

The Federal Government has now approved over 4,600 general practices nationally to participate in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. If you responded to the expression of interest (EOI) your practice should have received a letter of thanks last week, advising your eligibility to participate.

Tomorrow, we are expecting further advice to be sent to eligible practices detailing your participation in either Stage 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the general practice rollout plan. Practices identified as part of Stage 1 will be provided with a detailed on-boarding information pack, and will have the opportunity to advise of their capacity to commence with Stage 1.

The Government has confirmed that practices participating in the rollout will be allocated an agreed number of vaccines, delivered to the practice on a fortnightly basis. This allocation of vaccines will assist practices in planning and preparing for the rollout. We will continue to provide more information to practices as we receive updates from the Department of Health. 

If you have any questions, contact us via email or call 4708 8100 during business hours.

RACF COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

If you are a GP providing care to patients in RACFs, we will email you outlining the scheduled vaccination date/s of the facilities you work with when we receive this information. We will also contact you to discuss access to the vaccination when the implementation plan for RACF staff is received. If you require further information email Kate Tye Senior Manager Primary Care Support and Development, or Janice Peterson Manager Vulnerable Populations, or call 4708 8100.

2 March Update

New COVID-19 Vaccination Pathways 

HealthPathways has launched three new pathways which collate up-to-date state and federal vaccination advice in one location:

If you are prompted to log in refer to our HealthPathways reminder email, sent on the 1st of each month, or request access details online.

COVID-19 Vaccination Training

In order to provide vaccinations in your practice it is mandatory to complete the two COVID-19 vaccination training modules available from the Department of Health. It is recommended that all clinical staff undertake this training, as soon as possible, prior to rollout in their area. Training is also available for non-clinical and administration staff, which covers information regarding handling, storage and administrative reporting. Further information is available on the Department of Health website.

TGA Advice Regarding Advertising Vaccines

As part of the Australian Government Department of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates the advertising of therapeutic goods in Australia. This fact sheet explains how vaccine providers and other parties may lawfully advertise the COVID-19 vaccine without risking penalties for breaching the prohibition on advertising prescription medicines.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker

The Department of Health has released an online Vaccine Eligibility Checker allowing people to easily check if they meet the current requirements, determined on the stage of rollout in their state, as well as supplying information about required documentation

COVID-19 Easy to Read Resources

The Department of Health has released a number of patient resources in easy to read format. These documents cover the vaccine, consent, and what to expect before and after vaccination. 

25 February Update

AEFI Reporting

With the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations beginning this week, vaccination providers are reminded to report concerns regarding a suspected adverse event following immunisation (AEFI). All uncommon, unexpected or serious AEFI, must be reported to the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or by email  using the TGA AEFI case notification form. Additional information on investigation, management support and reporting requirements are available on the NSW Health COVID-19 vaccination website.

EOI Response Email Confirmation

Confirmation emails from the Department of Health via PHNs should now have been received by all general practices who submitted an expression of interest to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. If you have any questions email covid@nbmphn.com.au or call 4708 8100.

24 February Update

Vaccination Rollout to RACFs Webinar

With the COVID-19 vaccination commencing nation-wide this week, NSW PHNs are hosting a webinar tomorrow Thursday 25 February at 6:30pm detailing the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine for Residential Aged Care Facilities. This will be an opportunity for GPs to understand the vaccination process and what this means for residents in their care. You don't need to register for this event, however you can use the registration form on our website to set up a reminder. 

MBS Vaccine Assessment Descriptors

From March, as part of the Australian Government’s phase 1B vaccination rollout, 16 new MBS items will be available to enable GPs to assess their patient’s suitability for COVID-19 vaccination. The MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment service factsheet details more information. 

Changes to Clinic Hours and New Kingswood Drive-through Location

As of Monday 22 February the following COVID-19 LHD clinics will be changing their hours to:

  • Hawkesbury Showground: Mon-Fri 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • Regatta Centre: Mon-Fri 1:00pm to 4:00pm

A new private drive-through clinic has opened in Kingswood located at 142 Bringelly Road (Next to Montgrove College).

22 February update

Phase 1A Priority Group Rollout Starts In Our Region this Week

The Department of Health has released further clarification about who will receive vaccinations as part of the phase 1A rollout which started today.  In our region, seven Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) will receive vaccinations this week through in-reach vaccination teams. GPs with patients in these identified RACFs have been contacted. 

Older adults aged 70+ (who do not currently reside in residential aged care facilities) together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 55+ will receive their vaccinations in Phase 1B of the rollout. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker

The Department of Health has released an online Vaccine Eligibility Checker allowing people to easily check if they meet the current requirements, determined on the stage of rollout in their state, as well as supplying information about required documentation.

NSW Health moves from Amber to Green Alert

NSW Health has moved from amber alert (moderate transmission) status to green alert (low transmission) status. Although this guidance does not pertain specifically to general practices, we encourage you to remain vigilant when dealing with any patients with respiratory illness. Ensure that you maintain your recording of staff, patient and visitor attendance at your practice.
 

18 February Update

Vaccination Rollout to RACFs Webinar

With the COVID-19 vaccination commencing nation-wide next week, NSW PHNs will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 25 February at 6:30pm detailing the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). This will be an opportunity for GPs to understand the vaccination process and what this means for residents in their care. You won't need to register for this event, it will be available LIVE on zoom at this link next Thursday. 

Vaccination Pathways Updated

The COVID-19 Vaccination Information Pathway has been updated with the latest advice from the Australian Government including: Education, Vaccine Information, Consent Information, Roll-out and Practice Preparation Information, Specific Populations Information and Patient Resources.

16 February Update

TGA Approves AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the AstraZenica COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia and is approved for use in people aged 18 years and older. Two doses will be required, 4 to 12 weeks apart. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended that the interval between first and second dose is 12 weeks, however there are exceptions which will allow the second dose to be taken 4 weeks after the initial dose. The TGA have also released the product information and the consumer information on the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

ATAGI clinical guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia in 2021

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released a clinical guidance document for COVID-19 immunisation providers and program staff.

COVID-19 Vaccination Patient Consent 

ATAGI has released an immunisation provider guide to obtaining informed consent for COVID-19 vaccine as well as a consent form for the COVID-19 vaccination in preparation for the upcoming GP vaccinator rollout.

Pfizer Vaccine Product Inserts

The TGA has released the following documents for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine:

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring Plan

The TGA has released the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring Plan as part of Australia's vaccine safety monitoring and reporting system. The monitoring plan will allow the TGA to detect, investigate and respond to any emerging safety issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. Visit the TGA's website to report an adverse event following immunisation

COVID-19 Vaccination Patient Resources

The Department of Health has released a number of patient resources for vaccination providers and their patients including:

COVID-19 Update from the Deputy CMO

On Thursday 18 February at 11:30am, Prof Michael Kidd will lead an update for GPs in relation to COVID-19 vaccines, additional resources and important reminders. The most recent update from Prof Kidd from 12 February is available online.

12 February Update

Practice Nurse Immunisation Scholarships

In preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we are funding scholarships to support training for registered nurses in our region to increase the capacity to provide vaccinations. Additional specific training will be required to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Apply via our website.

Partnership with Western Victoria

Our HealthPathways GP Senior Clinical Editor, Dr Alex Williams (supported by Dr Kate Brunton) is serving as the joint National Lead in partnership with Dr Kate Graham, Clinical Editor from Western Victoria HealthPathways and the NSW State Lead, in preparing the COVID-19 Vaccination pathway.

Visit the COVID-19 HealthPathways Suite to access the latest up-to-date clinical guidance for healthcare professionals, including Vaccination Information.

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