At the Medical Centre and at medical centres all over the country, a power of work is being done readying ourselves for the COVID vaccination of our communities.
As you will be aware through the popular press, there have been supply problems and the rollout is a little behind schedule. This cautious approach in our present COVID-climate and the time that this has given us to get prepared is really a positive – amongst a host of other things it has also allowed many of our doctors and nurses to complete the (lengthy and mandatory) online teaching modules on the vaccination!
We have been informed that our first batch of the AstraZenica (AZ) vaccine will arrive on or about March 19. Like everyone else we get only a limited supply; fortunately, as a Respiratory Clinic we get more than many (although we have learnt to believe it when we see it!)
We mentioned in the previous article that stage 1a of the rollout will be dealt with outside the medical centre and is confined to frontline workers, Aged Care residents/staff, quarantine officers and the like. At the time of writing we are still waiting for this to occur locally.
The AZ vaccine will be made available for everyone in stage1b which includes people over 70 years old, other health care workers and those under 70 who have specific medical issues. For a complete understanding of the rollout please go to health.gov.au and search vaccine rollout. You can also check your own eligibility at covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
At the Clinic we are working out how to immunise those most at risk within these categories. Please do not contact usasking for an appointment for vaccination at this stage. We will notify you and we will detail more on how this will occur soon. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and webpage, at fostermedical.com for up-to-date information when we have it.
People will have many questions about the vaccines. We all do! And there is a lot of conjecture out there regarding its safety and efficacy. It will save us a lot of time and enable us to immunise people more effectively if people can do some reading and answering their own questions through some of the excellent information out there. We direct you to another excellent article written by Dr Priscilla Robinson (Prepare to bare arms – the vaccines are coming ) in this edition of the Mirror.
Confining your searches to reputable government sites is strongly recommended; again, try health.gov.au where there is a link to “Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines” and also one on ‘Consent for COVID-19 vaccination” which steps through things nicely. We will start to have limited printed information available at the clinic soon also.
Once you do have your first vaccination you will be given a date for the second shot, at this stage in 12 weeks time, and also hopefully a date for the flu shot …. remember them? It is easy to both forget that influenza remains a very real annual risk to the health of our population and with the minimal numbers last year to think that it is again not going to be a threat. We cannot assume that; the advice from the health professionals is that everyone over the age of 6 months of age should be vaccinated. It will be ‘free’ (NIP funded) for all children aged 6 months to 5 years and for those over 65, as well as for younger people with certain medical conditions associated with increased risks of complications from influenza.
It is recommended that there is a two-week gap between the flu shot and the C-19 vaccine and the timing therefore can get complicated.
We are again going to run the drive-through Flu Clinics similar to last year. The overwhelming response was positive to this method, (which we are not allowed to adopt for the C-19 vaccination).
At present we are proposing to vaccinate our 65-69 year olds first (as they won’t be in the first batch of C-19).
Although ‘they’ have told us we will have the flu vaccines by April 1, we won’t be sure until they arrive.
So at this stage, like with the C-19 vax, please do not ring the clinic. When we are sure of supply and dates, we will advertise quickly through FB, website and The Mirror.