COVID-19 update – 16 June 2021

16 June 2021


COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Close to 900 general practices applied to the Government’s Expression of Interest to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Department of Health is currently finalising the process with all eligible practices provided with onboarding packs and in the process of registering and ordering. These practices will begin administering vaccines from 21 June. An additional 86 practices will commence offering COVID-19 vaccine in this region.

On 4 June, general practices participating in the vaccination program, were invited to indicate interest in administering the Pfizer vaccine. Those who meet the Pfizer site requirements are expected to administer Pfizer by October 2021.

Second dose reminders

A flyer is available for download to remind patients about their second vaccine dose. 

The COVID-19 vaccine provider communication kit is available for download and has suggested appointment reminder content. 

Change in minimal interval timing between COVID-19 and influenza vaccines

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has released new advice that the preferred minimum interval between receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine (e.g. influenza) is seven days. A shorter interval is acceptable if the patient has an increased risk of COVID-19 or another vaccine-preventable disease, or if the patient has logistical issues in scheduling visits to maintain the seven day interval. 

Australian Immunisation Register

If an individual has evidence of vaccinations which have not been reported to the Australian Immunisation Register, vaccination providers are encouraged to report this information. This clarification comes from feedback from GPs who are unsure of whether to upload COVID-19 vaccinations into the AIR that they did not administer.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can now be offered to women at any stage of pregnancy, following an update of vaccination advice.  ATAGI now recommend that pregnant women are routinely offered Pfizer mRNA vaccine (Cominarty) at any stage of pregnancy. This is because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is significantly higher for pregnant women and their unborn baby. 

Global surveillance data from large numbers of pregnant women have not identified any significant safety concerns with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy.

Additionally those breastfeeding can receive Comirnaty at any time, and do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

New MBS item for immunisation home visits

A new MBS item 90005 can now be claimed by GPs making visits to a disability facility, aged care facility and a person’s place of residence on one occasion to provide patients with COVID-19 vaccines. This item is in addition to the rebate for administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

The benefit of $56.75 can be claimed once per visit to a facility or residence. See MBS Online website for more information.