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COVID-19 update – 13 April 2022

20200512 Icon Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases in the region 

Over the last four weeks there were 107,154 cases of COVID in the region – a reduction of 1,364 cases over the last week. Please note that the actual number of cases is likely to be much more. For further information please go to the latest NSW COVID statistics.

Infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients) remains important. Practices are also asked to ensure that their most vulnerable populations are fully vaccinated. If you would like an infectious control consultation or any other support please email coronavirus@cesphn.com.au.

Flu vaccinations

See the Department of Health’s Help stop the flu in 2022 consumer campaign: This year, it’s even more important to get the influenza vaccine as we are more vulnerable to influenza. This is due to lower recent exposure to the virus and lower uptake of influenza vaccines in 2021. With international borders reopening, it’s likely we will see more influenza in 2022. Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. The influenza vaccine is recommended for all individuals aged 6 months and over.

Vaccinations in children

Due to the low uptake of vaccinations for children in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Bayside and George’s River LGAs, practices are strongly encouraged to promote childhood COVID-19 vaccination during the Easter school holidays. Download the AIR42A report to identify all children due for the COVID-19 vaccine or contact immunisation@cesphn.com.au for assistance with accessing the report for your practice. 

Boosters not recommended for 12-15 group

On 8 April 2022 the TGA approved a booster dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12-15 years. However at this time, ATAGI does not recommend that adolescents aged 12-15 years need to receive a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Current data suggest that COVID-related serious illness is very rare in adolescents aged 12-15, particularly after completion of a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccine withdrawals

Practices can choose to withdraw from the COVID-19 Program completely or withdraw from administering selected vaccines. Contact CESPHN at coronavirus@cesphn.com.au to notify your intention to withdraw or amend the vaccines you will be administering. CESPHN will pass this information onto the Taskforce in a timely manner to enable the accurate administration of the request.

In-language videos 

In-language videos with multicultural GPs about vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 is now available in Assyrian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi and Punjabi. This language set contains translations of a video in which doctors talk about COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 and encourage parents and carers to book vaccinations for their children.

Upcoming webinars

COVID live stream for GPs

Join the latest COVID-19 vaccine live stream update for GPs. The panel will provide latest key updates and answer participants’ questions live about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
When: Thursday 14 April  2022, 11:30am (AEDT)
Where: Online
Target audience: GPs
Click link to join

NCIRS webinar recording

Watch the NCIRS webinar recording to find out what you need to know to be prepared for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination in 2022.This webinar was recorded 5 April 2022, and chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney. 

Free fit testing for GPs and practice nurses 

CESPHN is offering free fit testing for all GPs and practice nurses in our region. Bookings are now open

Individual appointments 

GPs and practice nurses can use the existing Sydney Local Health District mask fit testing booking system to book individual appointments at either Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital or Canterbury Hospital for mask fit testing services.

For bookings please go to https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/covid-mask-testing/. The online booking system will be updated to include a check box to identify as a GP or practice nurse; this question will also be asked by the mask fit tester.  For the next month a special three hour evening slot will be available once per week for GPs and practice nurses to access.

  • RPA and Concord Hospital are open from 8.00am – 4.00pm Monday to Friday.
  • Canterbury is open from 8.00am – 4.00pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Group appointments 

Fit testing services can be provided in the GP practice for group appointments provided there is a minimum of 20 people requiring mask fit testing. This may require practices to collaborate to ensure they meet minimum numbers.

This can be arranged by contacting:  

Phone: 95625 5900 or Email: matt.barker@health.nsw.gov.au

Current locations

  • Royal Prince Alfred Room 6.1 Level 6 Kerry Packer Education Centre
  • Concord Hospital Centre for Education Workforce and Development Building 20A
  • Canterbury Hospital Level 4 (next to computer room)

Ordering of masks 

Masks will be supplied for fit testing however the GP practice will then need to purchase masks.  Further information on purchasing masks will be provided on the day. 

Excess COVID vaccines 

If your practice has an excess of COVID-19 vaccines, please notify CESPHN (coronvirus@cesphn.com.au) as we may be able to help coordinate a transfer of the stock ideally two weeks prior to thaw use by date.

You should also notify the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) at covid19vaccineoperationscentre@health.gov.au of your excess doses so that they may be able to facilitate transfers outside the CESPHN region. Please note in the email to VOC that you have already contacted CESPHN.

COVID-19 care in the community

A reminder to check HealthPathways regularly for the latest updates on caring for COVID positive patients in the community. These have been updated to include information on the new oral antiviral treatments.

CESPHN Vax at Home Service

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).

The Vax at Home Service will accept referrals for people 16 years and over. For children 12-16 years with special circumstances and may require further support, referrals will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

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

All referrals MUST be sent through this Vax at Home Service Online Form – for people who are housebound and reside in the Sydney Local Health District or South Eastern Sydney Local Health District regions.  Please indicate if an influenza vaccine is also required. 

For further information on the program, please email vaxathomeservice@cesphn.com.au.

PPE and pulse oximeters available 

To order PPE for your practice or pharmacy click here. Distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health districts. CESPHN has access to a small supply of pulse oximeters.

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patient

  • Individual patients – distribution of pulse oximeters to patients identified as high risk is occurring via local health CESPHN have access to a small supply. GPs with patients they believe require a pulse oximeter urgently are asked to complete this CESPHN Pulse Oximeter online form with the patients details and we will arrange delivery of an oximeter.
  • General practices – practices actively seeing moderate risk COVID positive patients can also be sent up to five pulse oximeters per practice via email to pulseoximeter@cesphn.com.au.