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COVID-19 weekly update – 30 November 2022

20200512 Icon Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases in the region

Over the last week our region has seen a decrease in the number of COVID cases but the number of cases is still high.  General practices should take the necessary steps to ensure they are able to respond to this increase.  Infection control and wearing masks (staff and patients) is still critically important 

For further information on the latest number of COVID cases please go to the latest NSW COVID statistics. If you would like information and support on infection prevention and control for your practice, please email at coronavirus@cesphn.com.au 

Christmas arrangements – ordering COVID-19 vaccines

Christmas and the New Year is fast approaching, so practices are encouraged to commence planning for the number of vaccines needed from mid-to-late December2022 to mid-January 2023. When ordering, consider the additional stock and consumables needed to meet demand over the holiday period. Things to consider:  

  • Last orders for delivery before the end-of-year shutdown must be placed by Friday 2 December 2022 
  • Last deliveries for COVID-19 vaccine and consumables for 2022 will be delivered by Friday 16 December 2022 
  • Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) will be closed from 3pm Friday 23 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023 inclusive 

Current ATAGI Recommendations for COVID-19 Booster Doses 

The Vaccine Operation Centre (VOC) has been receiving enquiries regarding the use of a third booster (fifth dose) of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) does not currently recommend a third booster of any COVID-19 vaccines. 

It is the responsibility of the vaccine provider to remain up to date with recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccines, especially for people aged 65 years and older and those at higher risk of severe COVID-19. This information can be found on the ATAGI Clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines webpage. 

Tips to avoid administering more booster doses than recommended 

A detailed conversation is needed between the patient and vaccinator to confirm the patient’s eligibility and number of doses required for the individual situation. Prior to administering every COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine providers should: 

1. Check the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) before administering every COVID-19 vaccine 

2. Check if it is the correct vaccine for the individual patient cohort 

3. Check that the dose interval is correct 

4. Check that the vaccine is for the correct age group 

The following resources are available to assist:

CESPHN Vax at Home service

The CESPHN Vax at Home Service is for those people who are housebound and not able to leave their house to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster. The service will accept referrals for people 16 years and over. Referrals will be accepted from GPs 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. Please also indicate if an influenza vaccine is also required. Please note, a referral will need to be attached to the online form. For further information on the program, please contact us.

Ordering process for PPE – Christmas closing date for orders

Please Note: Due to the Christmas holidays and lead time for processing of orders for January stock, CESPHN would like to advise General Practices and Pharmacies within our region to place final PPE orders by COB Wednesday 14 December 2022 to allow sufficient processing and distribution time by the Department.

New changes to the ordering guidelines for supply of PPE to practices under the living with COVID provision PPE bundles:

  • It is no longer necessary for practices to order PPE in complete bundles. Practices are now able to request only the items they require when placing an order.
  • Please use the ‘Living with COVID’ provision to order the required PPE per practitioner.
  • Practices will no longer need to use ‘Emergency Provision’ to order specified stock.
  • Emergency Provision Section has been removed from the online order form.

PPE Living with COVID Bundle orders can only be placed once per month per provider number and must be submitted to CESPHN via the online order form.

Please read the guidance document before placing your order:

Access to PPE from the National Medical Stockpile is dependent on eligibility, and PPE volumes will be monitored by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Living with COVID PPE Bundles are available for:

  • GPs, ACCHS and GPRCs willing to manage COVID positive patients face-to-face.
  • ACCHSs and rural and remote GPs willing to treat COVID positive patients virtually and respiratory patients face-to-face, where workforce capacity is limited AND the GP is serving the community for most of all health needs.
  • GPs and GPRCs willing to support COVID positive people virtually, and respiratory patients face to face.

Accessing pulse oximeters for your patients

Individual patients – we have access to a small supply of oximeters. 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 10 pulse oximeters per practice via the new PPE online ordering form. If your practice has already received 10 pulse oximeters via the previous process, you will need to access future stock through your local suppliers.

Update to COVID-19 Vaccination Administration System (CVAS)  

COVID vaccines, or remove access to existing COVID vaccines 

From 24 November 2022 there will be new functionality in CVAS. This will allow sites participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program to log into CVAS and directly request to activate, reactivate or deactivate access to one or more vaccine products. 

Withdrawing from specific vaccines: 

Before making a request to deactivate a vaccine type, sites will need to ensure they have completed a final Stock Management Report and recorded zero stock on hand for the vaccine type they are requesting to be deactivated for.  

Please note, a request does not guarantee a site will be activated for the requested vaccine type, approval of requests is at the discretion of the Department. 

Withdrawing from the program completely: 

If a site would like to withdraw completely from the program, they will need to log into CVAS to request withdrawal from all vaccine types and then contact their local PHN to fully withdraw from the program.  

For your site to withdraw from the program you must: 

  • Have they completed a final Stock Management Report and recorded zero stock on hand for all vaccine types they have on hand 
  • Sites are able to remain deactivated in CVAS but retain access to the site in the event they would like to participate in the program in the future, also known as taking a break. They will not be required to complete any mandatory reporting during this time. This will enable the site to be able to participate in the Program again, should the need arise. 
  • To log into the Vaccine Clinic Finder Connect and remove themselves as a vaccine provider from the Vaccine Clinic Finder 

ATAGI recommendations:

  • Eligibility: Pfizer bivalent vaccine can be used for any booster dose in people aged 18 years or older, according to the current ATAGI booster dose recommendations.
  • Timing & intervals: Booster doses should be given at least 3 months after previous COVID-19 infection or last COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Co-administration: Pfizer bivalent vaccine can be co-administered with other non-COVID vaccines, as per current ATAGI clinical guidance

If sites are in need of assistance when requesting either option via CVAS, you can contact the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208.