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Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN)—helping northern Queenslanders live happier, healthier, longer lives  |  nqphn.com.au 
30 JULY 2021

COVID-19 vaccine GP update #42


SPECIAL EDITION: Essential COVID-19 resources for your practice

In this update:

Key COVID-19 resources for all general practices

ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting

 
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) met on Wednesday (28 July) to review the latest developments relating to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) cases in Australia.

In addition, ATAGI continues to monitor COVID-19 epidemiology including the current COVID-19 outbreak involving the Delta variant and adverse events observed following immunisation.

Read the update here.

Medical recommendation letter for over 60s to receive Pfizer vaccine in Queensland Health facilities

 
As per the Management of COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Queensland hospitals Guideline, which is found on the Northern Queensland PHN GP COVID-19 webpage, there are currently a number of medical circumstances where a consumer over the age of 60 might be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, including those with underlying medical conditions, however they may not fall within one of the priority worker groups. 

The new Queensland Health Recommendation form to receive the Pfizer Vaccine is required to be signed by a medical practitioner and presented by an otherwise ineligible consumer at a Queensland Health vaccination location. This does not replace a referral to a local Hospital and Health Service for consideration for in-hospital vaccination or seeking specialist advice, however will assist people aged over 60 receive a Pfizer vaccine if they have an approved medical condition. 

As more GPs gain access to Pfizer supplies in the coming weeks, it is anticipated that these individuals will initially be referred to those practices rather than Queensland Health facilities, where the focus can remain on the priority worker groups listed above.

If you are a GP, or other Medical Practitioner making a recommendation for Pfizer, please ensure that your patient is aware that, despite holding this referral, they may not be able to be accommodated at a Queensland Health Vaccination Location at this time due to the prioritisation of second doses and the priority groups above. Additionally, they may be turned away if sufficient information is not included on the form.

Reporting Adverse Events in medical software

 
Electronic COVID-19 Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) reporting templates are now available for Best Practice, Genie and Medical Director software packages.

They will help improve the efficiency of reporting as they auto-populate some information.

Download the below COVID-19 Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting form in your preferred medical software:

COVID-19 communication resources for all general practices

 
The Australian Government has launched a new campaign to encourage eligible Australians to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Arm Yourself campaign urges Australians to protect themselves, their loved ones, the people they care about, and the wider community by getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

View the Arm Yourself campaign materials online.

The Queensland Government’s Asset Library for COVID-19 health care providers also provides a collection of print-ready and editable resources for general practice in regard to COVID-19 and vaccination care. The collection includes:
  • patient fact sheets – what to expect after your vaccination (AstraZeneca and Pfizer)
  • sticker and badge artwork – “I’ve had the COVID-19 vaccination”
  • practice signage – COVID-19 vaccination location and 'Be kind to our healthcare heroes'
  • pull-up banners – for photos and promoting the vaccination.

How to track current COVID-19 hotspots

Hotspots are places in Australian states or territories other than Queensland, or in safe travel zone countries where health officials have found a lot of people with COVID-19, or places that are at risk of a lot of COVID-19 infections.

Hotspots are legally listed so that Queensland Health can identify people travelling into Queensland from those high-risk areas.

Track the current COVID-19 hotspots on the Queensland Health COVID-19 hotspots webpage.

Update on PPE requirements and resources

The Australian Government Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) has released revised guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19.
 

Sources of PPE

For a comprehensive list of readily available commercial sources of PPE (including surgical face masks, P2/N95 masks, eye and face protection, gowns and more) refer to the Queensland Government’s What’s on Offer website that has been designed to connect buyers with suppliers.
 

RACGP resources

RACGP has a number of PPE videos available including: how to use PPE, how to sanitise your hands, how to don personal protective equipment (PPE), how to fit a P2/N95 mask, and how to remove and dispose of PPE. RACGP has also published a document on Optimising the use of personal protective equipment in general practice during COVID-19.
 

Fit testing of P2/N95 guidance 

The Queensland Health Fit Testing of Particulate Filtration Respirators (PFR or P2/N95 respirators) in respiratory protection programs Guidance Document (Fit Testing Document) has been developed to provide guidance and recommendations for decision-makers and healthcare workers (HCWs) in Queensland to support the safe and practical integration of fit testing into respiratory protection programs.

It can be found on the Northern Queensland PHN COVID-19 PPE webpage.
 

Downloads

Ongoing open EOI for general practices to join COVID-19 vaccination program rollout


The Australian Government has confirmed there are still opportunities for general practices to join the COVID-19 vaccination program rollout, especially for those practices in regions with limited access to vaccination sites, or catering to high numbers of culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse patient lists.
 
To support broad access to COVID-19 vaccines across Australia, there are still opportunities for general practices to join the vaccine rollout using AstraZeneca initially, and then Pfizer later in the year as more Pfizer vaccine becomes available.
 
To join the rollout, practices must:
  • meet the site requirements, and
  • be accredited (or undergoing accreditation), or participating in the National Immunisation Program.
If you are interested in participating in the program, please complete this short form.
Key COVID-19 resources for vaccinators

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Communication Kit and advertising compliance

 
The Department of Health has prepared a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Communication Kit to support General Practice patient communications efforts during the vaccine rollout.

Communication materials provided are voluntary, however use of these communication materials will support your compliance with the TGA advertising act.

The Provider Kit includes:
  • Pre vaccination content
  • Vaccination day resources
  • Post-vaccination content.
There are also resources available in other languages, and for people with a disability.

The Queensland Government’s Asset Library for COVID-19 health care providers also provides a collection of print-ready and editable resources for general practice in regard to COVID-19 and vaccination care. The collection includes:
  • patient fact sheets – what to expect after your vaccination (AstraZeneca and Pfizer)
  • sticker and badge artwork – “I’ve had the COVID-19 vaccination”
  • practice signage – COVID-19 vaccination location
  • pull-up banners – for photos and promoting the vaccination
Please click on this link for further vaccination clinic resources.

Vaccine wastage – excess dose policy

 
Practices should take all necessary steps to minimise stock wastage.

The Australian Government has issued guidelines to assist vaccinating practices which have doses left over at the end of the day.

Bookings should be planned to maximise full use of multi-dose vials, and sites are encouraged to review the excess dose policy on the Department’s website.

Transfer of AstraZeneca vaccine stock

 
Primary care COVID-19 vaccination sites may choose to transfer AstraZeneca vaccines from one participating vaccination site to another for a range of reasons. For example to support unmet demand at another site or to manage an oversupply of stock.

Primary care COVID-19 vaccination sites include:
  • general practice
  • Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services, and
  • Community Pharmacy.
Participating COVID-19 vaccination sites can only transfer AstraZeneca vaccine stock with other participating sites. Vaccination sites should transfer only full, unopened vials and the receiving site must agree and accept the amount.

Vaccination sites cannot transfer stock to a site not registered with the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Both transferring and receiving vaccination sites will need to record the transfer of AstraZeneca vaccines. They should record this within their Vaccine Stock Management Report by 9pm Friday on the week the transfer occurred. This includes AstraZeneca vaccine stock received from state and territory clinics.

Both parties should agree to the transportation arrangements. This includes for sending an appropriate amount of consumables, such as syringes, needles and sharps collectors, with vaccines to the receiving site. Sites should refer to the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines (Strive for 5) for information on advice on vaccine storage, including transportation.

EOI Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

 
The Australian Government announced that it would fast-track the transition of general practice to administering Pfizer.

PHNs are collating responses to the EOI ongoing, so please inform us if you are interested in transitioning to Pfizer, if you have not yet responded. The Department will invite more practices as more Pfizer vaccine becomes available.

It is anticipated that all participating general practices will be given the opportunity to administer the Pfizer vaccine by later this year.

Please read this factsheet for more detailed information on the EOI, including requirements, allocation, and timeframes. 

To indicate your interest, please complete this short form.

There is no closing date to the EOI.

Mental health support resources


Northern Queensland PHN would like to remind you that there are a number of support services available for GPs, pharmacists, practice staff, and other primary healthcare workers.
 

NQPHN EAP service

To access this free service, call 1800 818 728 and when calling mention ‘Northern Queensland Primary Health Network’ and then ‘GP staff’ or ‘Chemist staff’, or visit the AccessEAP website.

Download NQPHN information poster for general practices.
 

Other support services

You can find details of further mental health support services, including Lifeline and Beyond Blue, on the dedicated health professionals' mental health support web page on the NQPHN website.

Event, workshop and training calendar


Have you checked out the Events Calendar on the NQPHN website?

Visit www.nqphn.com.au/events to view a full calendar of events, workshops, and trainings happening across the Cape and Torres, Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay regions.

Australian COVID-19 vaccine rollout – latest statistics

 
Learn how Australia's vaccine rollout is tracking with new statistics published weekly on the Australian Department of Health website

Total number of people vaccinated for COVID-19 in Australia (29 July 2021)

Recommended COVID-19 resources

NQPHN is committed to supporting you during the COVID-19 pandemic, so please be assured we will update you with the relevant information from the Australian Government Department of Health and Queensland Health as and when we receive it.
 
To help you receive timely and clear information regarding COVID-19, NQPHN uses a subject line starting with ‘COVID-19:’ in all our email correspondence to you, so please prioritise accordingly.
 
NQPHN also recommends the following COVID-19 websites, so you can track the latest clinical advice and keep informed about COVID-19:

If you have any queries, questions, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact NQPHN at preparednessandresponse@nqphn.com.au
Northern Queensland Primary Health Network acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia's First Nation Peoples and the Traditional Custodians of this land. We respect their continued connection to land and sea, country, kin, and community. We also pay our respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging as the custodians of knowledge and lore.
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