COVID-19 INFO UPDATE, TESTING & VACCINATION CLINIC

Key Messages
UPDATE TO VACCINE ROLL-OUT
COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years
Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has considered the regulatory authority and provided advice on administering vaccines to this age group within the Australian context.
The Australian Government has considered this advice and will provide COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 years through the COVID-19 Vaccination Program (Program).
• This means that anyone in Australia aged 5 to 11 years can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Pfizer is the only vaccine that has been approved for use in this age group.
• The primary course is two doses, with an interval of 8-weeks. The interval can be shorted to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances.
• The roll-out to this age group will commence from 10 January 2022, with all primary care sites able to order an ongoing allocation.
• The first ordering window for Pfizer paediatric vaccine will open on Saturday 11 December 2022.
The Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 years is a different formulation from the Pfizer vaccine approved for those aged 12 and over and is differentiated by an orange cap. It can also be stored for a maximum of 10 weeks between 2°C to 8°C.
Booster doses are not yet recommended for this cohort (those under the age of 18 years), as severe COVID-19 is uncommon in this age group and the primary course of
COVID-19 vaccines generate a strong immune response, so the benefit from additional doses of vaccine is likely to be small.
For more information, please see attached a letter from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, about these recommendations.
ATAGI
Statement on children 5 to 11 years
ATAGI has released a statement recommending that all children aged 5 to 11 receive a paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
They also note that:
• children aged 5 to 11 years with medical risk factors for severe illness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children living in crowded conditions or outbreak areas are most likely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination given their increased risk of severe outcomes and/or exposure;
• children aged 5 to 11 years who have previously had SARS-CoV-2 infection can receive the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine following recovery from their illness (or vaccination can be deferred for up to 6 months);
• children who turn 12 after their first dose may receive the adolescent/adult formulation of the Pfizer vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course; and
• the paediatric Pfizer vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines e.g. the influenza vaccine.

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COVID-19 Update No. 105

This alert updates the 15 November 2021 COVID-19 Update.

TASMANIAN UPDATE – measures introduced in response to COVID-19 variant Omicron

  • Tasmania has introduced additional border measures in response to a new variant (Omicron or B.1.1.529) of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. This new variant has been identified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation.
  • Travellers who have spent time in any overseas location on or since Sunday 28 November are not currently permitted to enter Tasmania. Current exceptions include the South Island of New Zealand and some Pacific Island Nations meeting specific criteria.
  • Additionally any traveller intending to travel to Tasmania who has spent time overseas in the 14 days before Sunday 28 November, will not be permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved as an Essential Traveller.
  • Further information on border restrictions and requirements for international travellers will be available in the coming days.
  • Early data suggests that Omicron is more infectious than other variants of SARS-CoV-2 While there is no evidence to suggest that it causes more severe infection, this and other aspects of infection with this variant are being urgently investigated.

More information on the transmissibility, severity of illness and effectiveness of current vaccines and treatments for the new variant is expected to become available in the coming weeks.

Key Messages
ATAGI ADVICE
Omicron variant
The ATAGI has released a statement on the emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) variant of concern, the Omicron variant.
At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that earlier booster doses, before six months after the second primary course dose, will augment protection against the Omicron variant. ATAGI will continue to closely monitor the epidemiology and emerging data on the likely impact of vaccination on this variant and update recommendations shortly.
More information is available on the Department’s website.

Booster dose intervals
A booster dose is available to anyone in Australia aged 18 years and over who has completed their primary course of vaccination at least six-months ago.
The ATAGI has advised that in special circumstances, the six-month interval may be shortened to five months when needed for logistical reasons.
Vaccination providers may choose to administer a booster dose a few weeks earlier than the six-month interval for logistical reasons, for example:
• for patients with a greater risk of severe COVID-19 in outbreak settings;
• if an individual is travelling overseas and will be away when their booster dose is due; or
• in outreach vaccination programs where access is limited.

Providers should use their clinical judgement to determine whether it is appropriate to administer the dose early. It should be noted that there are very limited data on benefit for boosters given prior to 20 weeks after completion of the primary course, and the duration of protection following boosters is not yet known. More information is available in ATAGI’s clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccines.

Definition of fully vaccinated
On 22 November 2021, the ATAGI advised that for the purposes of people returning from overseas travel, those individuals who are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are those who:
• have received two doses of any Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or TGA-recognised COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days apart, and
• are at least 7 days post their second dose, with the exception of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, where they are regarded as fully vaccinated 7 days after the single dose.
This definition includes homologous (two doses of the same vaccine) and heterologous (two doses of different TGA-approved or recognised vaccines) schedules.
This definition may be updated over time based on emerging evidence, as required. More information can be found on our website.

COVID-19 TESTING & VACCINATION CLINIC

COVID-19 TESTING CLINIC

We do Covid-19 Testing onsite between 5 pm and 6 pm every day. Please book who meet the following screening criteria:

In the last 7 days, if you are having the following symptoms:

  • Fever/high temperature (38oC and above)/ History of Fever (night

  sweats, chills, and Rigors )

          and/or

  • Acute respiratory and nonrespiratory symptoms: Running nose, cough,

sore throat & shortness of breath/breathing difficulty, and headache or diarrhea.

and “Yes” to one of the following:

  • Are you healthcare, aged care, or residential care worker with direct patient contact?

In the last 14 days before being sick:

  • Did you have *close contact with a confirmed or probable case?
  • Did you travel internationally or interstate (Melbourne, Sydney or any hotspots)?
  • Were you a passenger or crew member on a cruise ship?

 Please ring and talk to our receptionists to make an URGENT PRIORITY APPOINTMENT AT COVID-19 ASSESSMENT & TESTING CLINIC at Wynyard Medical Centre (CURRENTLY OPEN BETWEEN 5-6 PM DAILY MONDAY TO FRIDAY)

COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC

We are currently providing Covid-19 vaccination with Oxford/Astrazeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Spikevax (Moderna) with Free of Charge to those who are qualified.

ELIGIBILITY:
mRNA vaccines: The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced that from 1 October 2021 people aged 60 and over will be able to access any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines, at all vaccination sites, regardless of where they live.

This means:

  • people aged 18+ can access any COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, and   Vaxzevria  (AstraZeneca)); and
  • people aged 12+ can access the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

High priority and vulnerable cohorts:
With the opening up of both mRNA vaccines to those 60 and over, it is important that high priority and vulnerable cohorts continue to be prioritised for vaccination appointments where possible. Please continue to assist these cohorts, such as home care workers, disability support workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to access a COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is ELIGIBLE for Astrazeneca/Oxford Vaccine:

  • For people aged 18 and above even the vaccine is preferred to people aged 60 and above
  • Access to the AstraZeneca vaccine has been expanded to all adults aged 18 to 39 years, provided they give informed consent

Individuals who have had one dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects should have the second dose of AstraZeneca to gain full protection.

They should not attempt to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose.

Who is ELIGIBLE for Pfizer(Conmirnaty) and Moderna(Spikevax) Vaccines:

  • People aged 12 and above. 

 Check your eligibility -> COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker

UPDATE TO THE VACCINE ROLL-OUT:
BOOSTER DOSES

Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as a booster dose for individuals aged 18 years and above, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has considered the regulatory authority and provided advice on booster doses within the Australian context.

The Australian Government has considered this advice and will provide booster doses through the COVID-19 Vaccination Program (Program) to offer even greater protection against COVID-19 for people in Australia aged 18 and over who have completed their primary two-dose course of vaccination at least six months ago.

  • This means that anyone in Australia aged 18 years and over can receive a booster.
  • Pfizer boosters can be administered from 6 months after the second primary course dose  of COVID-19 vaccine – regardless of the initial vaccine type.
  • The general Booster Program will commence from 8 November 2021. However, boosters will commence immediately for aged care residents through in-reach clinics, and at-risk health staff through state and territory vaccination clinics as these cohorts were some of the first to receive vaccinations and are now due for their booster.

If you have stock and available bookings, you do not have to wait until 8 November, you can commence providing boosters immediately.

Individuals remain fully vaccinated with the primary two-dose vaccination course, which provides a high level of protection against the worst effects of COVID-19. The booster will provide additional protection and is not mandatory.

ATAGI STATEMENT

ATAGI’s statement notes that booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines are likely to mitigate against waning immunity, especially in high risk groups.
They recommend that groups who were prioritised earlier in the Program will be due for their booster dose first, and are those most likely to benefit from a booster dose (including cohorts with risk factors for severe COVID-19 and/or those at increased occupational risk of COVID-19) however the use of boosters in anyone aged 18 and over who completed their primary vaccinations 6 or more months ago is supported.
Pfizer is the preferred single booster dose, regardless of the primary COVID-19 vaccine used.
Individuals who cannot receive a Pfizer vaccine due to a significant adverse reaction after a previous mRNA vaccine dose which contraindicates further doses of mRNA vaccine (e.g. anaphylaxis or myocarditis), can receive a third primary dose of the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine.
The recommended interval for the booster dose is 6 months or more after completion of any primary COVID-19 vaccine course.
Booster doses are not yet recommended for:
• severely immunocompromised individuals who have recently been recommended to receive a third dose of a primary COVID-19 vaccine. Further information on booster doses for this group will be provided soon;
• those under the age of 18 years, as severe COVID-19 is uncommon in this age group and the primary course of COVID-19 vaccines generate a strong immune response, so the benefit from additional doses of vaccine is likely to be small; or
• those who received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine less than 6 months ago.
Moderna has not yet applied for regulatory approval for their Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine to be used as a booster. Advice on the use of Moderna as a booster will be provided when appropriate.
While the booster dose can maximise protection, it is still recommended all individuals continue risk mitigation strategies such as mask-wearing and physical distancing where possible.
ATAGI is expected to review its advice in January 2022.

SEASONAL  FLU VACCINATION:

We are also providing Free Seasonal Flu Vaccination to those who are qualified as well. Those who are not qualified to Free Seasonal Flu Vaccination then can have with a cost of $25 on-site.