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COVID-19 update – 14 April 2021

14 April 2021

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Weekly update: COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

This week marks the fourth week of Phase 1b of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, and a further 118 general practices in our region will be participating. This will bring the total number of general practices in our region delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine to 283.

Vaccine advice

Following advice from the Australian Technical and Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now not recommended in Australia for those under 50 years of age unless the GP or approved vaccinator determines that the benefits outweigh the risk. This is as a result of reports of a rare vaccine side effect, a blood clotting disorder, which occurs in approximately 1 in 200,000 vaccinations (and more commonly in younger people). 

Cases of thrombosis (blood clots) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) can occur 4-20 days after vaccination. Health professionals should be aware of warning signs, such as central venous sinus thrombosis or thrombosis in other sites. This condition may present as a new, persistent headache that won’t settle with pain relief, features of increased intracranial pressure (acute severe headache, vomiting or confusion), focal neurological deficits and/or seizures. If a patient presents with a suspected thrombotic complication after having had the AstraZeneca vaccine, refer them to an emergency department.

The Pfizer vaccine is now recommended for people aged under 50. Australia has secured 20 million extra doses of the Pfizer vaccineand it is anticipated that these additional doses will be available inquarter four of 2021. We are awaiting advice from the Commonwealth on where those people aged under 50 can access the Pfizer vaccine. 

People aged under 50 who have already had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse events can still be given a second dose of the vaccine. For those aged over 50 the AstraZeneca vaccine is still recommended and is considered safe and effective for protection against COVID-19.

Further reading:

COVID-19 Vaccination Training – update

Significant updates have occurred in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Friday 9 April. Module progress and completion have not been affected.  

Vaccine providers are expected to login and view the new information. A summary of the updates can be found in the announcement forum. All changes within the modules are identified by ‘NEW’ in red.

NSW COVID-19 update

There are areas of increased testing in the following LGAs: Ballina, Byron Bay, Lismore and Tweed. There are currently no locations associated with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Visit the NSW Health website for regular updates. 

COVID-19 near me

If you want to check locations visited by COVID-19 cases near you the following website offers a helpful interactive map: https://covid19nearme.com.au/state/nsw