COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) have jointly prepared this comprehensive resource that uniquely provides information and answers questions about COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The document answers a range of questions including:
Why is the vaccine being rolled out in remote communities when there were no cases there?
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for elders?
Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for people with existing medical and chronic conditions?
Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy?
What are the likely side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?
In many general practices, each dose should be withdrawn and immediately administered to a recipient before another dose is withdrawn from the vial for the next recipient later when required. This should always be applied in settings where vaccines doses are not administered one after another. If any doses remain in the vial, refrigerate the multi-dose vial between +2°C and +8°C immediately after you finish the vaccine draw-up.
In a mass vaccine clinic setting, you may pre-draw multiple doses from one vial and use within one hour if stored at room temperature, or within six hours if stored at 2-8°C. This is to ensure vaccine efficacy and safety.
Vaccination against influenza remains important this year. Vaccination experts recommend influenza vaccination for all people aged 6 months and over. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) funds influenza vaccines for people most at risk.
2021 Influenza vaccine pre-orders
Pre orders opened on 8 March 2021, with deliveries planned to commence in late March 2021.
The 2021 influenza toolkit is available to support immunisation providers to plan for the 2021 Influenza vaccination program. The fridge basket stickers and poster will be sent with first deliveries of vaccines.
Eligibility for NIP flu vaccines
Immunisation providers should offer NIP funded influenza vaccines to eligible persons, to ensure those at most risk of developing severe influenza and its complications receive the vaccine. All patients aged over 5 years of age who are not eligible for funded flu vaccine should be advised that they can purchase private market flu vaccine via GPs or authorised pharmacists (for people aged 10 years and over).
First order deliveries: Due to the large volume of influenza vaccine orders at the beginning of the season it can take around four weeks for the State Vaccine Centre to send out all first orders. When vaccine deliveries commence, vaccine orders are processed according to the date the order was placed.
Initial order: Ensure you order enough vaccine for four weeks in your initial order.
Subsequent orders: only order what you can feasibly administer in a maximum four-week period. Consider the amount of expired vaccines that you discarded from the 2020 season.
Wastage: Do not overstock your fridge to avoid unnecessary vaccine wastage in the event of a refrigerator malfunction or power failure.
This year both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines will be available to protect people in Australia from these potentially serious diseases. It is important that both vaccinations are planned to ensure the best possible protection against COVID19 and influenza.
Consider these principles when scheduling influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations:
people in earlier phases for COVID-19 vaccination should ensure they receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them, and then receive their influenza vaccine.
people in later phases for COVID-19 vaccination should receive their influenza vaccine as soon as it is available, and then receive their COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
Your practice is responsible for ensuring appropriate spacing between COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
Clinical advice is changing rapidly. Your practice should keep up to date with the latest ATAGI advice available at health.gov.au.
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