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08 Jul

COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccine Information

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All Australians over five years of age will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are not ‘live’ which means they do not carry any active part of the virus. We believe it will be an important vaccine for our patients to have. Below we have provided links to resources from the Australian Government, Department of Health, and Medicine/Vaccine advisory boards. We will endeavor to update our website regularly to reflect the most up to date information. Your GP will be helpful in providing advice regarding the vaccine.

COVID winter booster dose recommendations

ATAGI has updated its recommendations for a winter booster dose (4th dose for most people) of COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce severe disease from the emerging surge of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections, and to reduce the burden on Australian hospitals and the healthcare system in coming months.  The updated recommendations are:

  • Adults aged 50 to 64 years are now recommended to receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Adults aged 30 to 49 years can receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, however the benefit for people in this age group is less certain.

ATAGI emphasises that people previously eligible for a winter booster dose  remain at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 and should receive a winter booster dose as soon as possible. They include:

  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • People aged 16 years and older who are severely immunocompromised
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.
  • A medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
  • People with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increase risk of poor outcome from COVID-19.

The fourth dose can be given from 3 months after the person first received their third dose or from three months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, if the infection occurred since the person’s third dose.

ATAGI says the influenza vaccine can be co-administered with a COVID-19 vaccine if you are due for one. Pfizer or Moderna are the preferred winter doses,  Astra-Zeneca can be substituted when this is particularly the patient preference. Please click this link to read the full ATAGI statement.

To assess your eligability please discuss with your GP or specialist.

Information resources

Australian Government Department of Health

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) have created a video explaining how the COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly and safely.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provides information on the risk of clotting conditions in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group for Immunisations (ATAGI) provides information on the risk of clotting conditions in people with a history of clots, in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Watch a video of Professor Michelle Giles, an Infectious Diseases physician and immunisation expert, discussing COVID-19 vaccinations and fertility.

COVID-19 FAQs

Am I at greater risk of getting the coronavirus infection?
There is now some information from the UK and elsewhere saying that people without a functioning spleen may have a slightly increased risk of getting COVID-19. The reason why you had your spleen removed and any ongoing medical treatments would add to this risk. Additionally, if you get a viral infection you may get a secondary bacterial infection (e.g. pneumonia).

All patients registered with Spleen Australia are recommended to have COVID vaccines (any type), as per ATAGI guidelines, to provide effective protection from the virus.

Who should I contact if I have symptoms and/or have COVID?
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, immediately get tested (PCR or RAT) and isolate until you get your result. If your symptoms are of concern, contact your GP. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.  

When should I take my emergency supply of antibiotics?
Do not take your emergency antibiotics if you have symptoms of a viral infection. Get your symptoms assessed ASAP by your GP (eg. telehealth appointment) to determine if your symptoms are COVID related or a bacterial infection (or both). If the doctor feels your symptoms are due to a bacterial infection you will probably be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If you cannot get to see a doctor promptly (within a few hours) and feel very unwell, take your emergency supply of antibiotics. When you do get to see a doctor tell them what you have taken.

Last updated 08/07/2022

Health Update #3 June 9, 2022