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COVID-19: GP Alert (14 July 2021)

July 14, 2021

NEW – ATAGI statement on use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia

Please also see a letter from Professor Paul Kelly providing:

  • updated advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the context of an outbreak of the COVID-19 delta strain, and
  • updated information about thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) – the serious, but rare blood-clotting condition associated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

This letter follows on from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) statement released yesterday (13 July 2021) regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. The statement addresses the specific application of recommendations in the setting of a significant COVID-19 outbreak involving the Delta variant. This includes:

  1. the re-assessment of benefits versus risks of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca for adults under 60 years of age
  2. updated advice about the optimal interval between the two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in an outbreak setting.

Recommendations on the use of Comirnaty, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, are unchanged. The jurisdiction(s) where the COVID-19 outbreak occurs will determine when and where these recommendations are applicable, i.e., the response should be based on current epidemiology of the disease.

NEW - Medical recommendation letter to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Queensland Health facilities

The Pfizer (ComirnatyTM) vaccine is being prioritised for second doses and the following priority groups in Queensland Health vaccination locations:

As per the Management of COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Queensland hospitals Guideline, found on our Covid-19 vaccination information for primary care webpage, there are currently a number of medical circumstances where a consumer over the age of 60 might be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, including those with underlying medical conditions, however they may not fall within one of the priority worker groups listed above.

Please see at the following link the Queensland Health Recommendation form to receive the Pfizer Vaccine which is required to be signed by a medical practitioner and presented by an otherwise ineligible consumer at a Queensland Health vaccination location. This does not replace a referral to a local Hospital and Health Service for consideration for in-hospital vaccination or seeking specialist advice, however will assist people aged over 60 to receive a Pfizer vaccine if they have an approved medical condition.

As more GPs gain access to Pfizer supplies in the coming weeks, it is anticipated that these individuals will initially be referred to those practices rather than Queensland Health facilities, where the focus can remain on the priority worker groups listed above.

If you are a GP, or other medical practitioner making a recommendation for Pfizer, please ensure that your patient is aware that, despite holding this referral, they may not be able to be accommodated at a Queensland Health vaccination location at this time due to the prioritisation of second doses and the priority groups above. Additionally, they may be turned away if the form contains insufficient information.

NEW – Vaccine hesitancy patient communication

This article Communicating with patients and the public about COVID-19 vaccine safety: recommendations from the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation may be helpful for clinicians when talking to patients with vaccine hesitancy.

July COVID-19 vaccines multicultural audience stakeholder pack

Please see below the July edition of the COVID-19 vaccines multicultural audiences stakeholder pack, developed by the Department of Health.

This pack contains in-language communication resources explaining what to expect at your appointment, reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine, how to find out when you can have your COVID-19 vaccination and how to book, and information on updates to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Click on the links in the stakeholder pack to access translated COVID-19 vaccines information. Resources include posters, fact sheets, audio files, videos and social media content.
Click here to view the pack