Home

>

News

>

COVID-19 information

COVID-19 information

This page contains advice for health professionals and community members on COVID-19 vaccination, and how to identify, manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please note that the situation in Australia with regards to COVID-19 is changing rapidly and official local and national government sources will provide the most up-to-date information.

Vaccine information for health professionals

Adverse events

 

Managing anaphylaxis after vaccination

The Australian Immunisation Handbook guidance on managing anaphylaxis after vaccination is available here.

The ASCIA resources on managing anaphylaxis are available here.

 

Myocarditis and pericarditis

This link provides detailed ATAGI advice.

Apply to administer Moderna Spikevax Moderna Bivalent, Nuvaxoid (Novavax), and Pfizer (Comirnaty) at your practice.

If you would like your practice to begin offering COVID vaccinations, please fill in the EOI form below:

EOI form to join the COVID vaccination program

 

General practices who are currently participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program can indicate their interest in receiving an ongoing allocation of the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent vaccine, and/or the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine, Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine.

To submit an Expression of Interest in your practice:

Moderna EOI Click here

Novavax EOI Click here

Pfizer EOI click here

General information

Consent form

  • Consent form for COVID-19 vaccination: click here

COVID-19 vaccine transfer

For full details on transfers, including how the vaccines should be transported, please read this information from the Department of Health.

 

After vaccination

Reporting vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register

It is now mandatory to report all National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

From 1 July 2021, under the AIR Act, it is mandatory to report all NIP, COVID-19 and influenza vaccines administered to the AIR.

Immunisation providers can submit vaccination encounters to the AIR using:

 

General immunisation training for providers

Multicultural communications to patients and clients

VCF Connect will retire on 30 June 2023.  As a part of the transition arrangements, the Department of Health and Aged Care are ceasing new registrations to VCF Connect as of Monday April 24.

What does this mean?

  • Vaccine providers who have already registered in and claimed their services can continue to maintain vaccine services on the Service Finder through VCF Connect.
  • Any vaccine provider that has not previously registered in VCF Connect will be able to get early access to Provider Connect Australia (PCA) to manage the vaccine services information.
  • After VCF Connect is retired, all sites will be able to register in PCA and continue to self-manage their health services information.

The Department of Health and Aged Care and the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) have worked together to offer COVID-19 Vaccine providers the opportunity to onboard to a new service called Provider Connect Australia.

COVID-19 information for health professionals

The Sydney North HealthPathways team have completed a rapid localisation of the pathway Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information (including vaccination information). To request access to HealthPathways, or if you have any questions, please contact the HealthPathways Team: healthpathways@snhn.org.au

Updated information and advice for health professionals

 

Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19

COVID-19 outbreak preparation: Advice for GPs with patients in Aged Care Facilities

Click here to view the tip sheet. This document is the first in a series to support GPs working in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and is designed to support involvement in RACF COVID-19 ou-break preparedness activities. It incorporates the expertise of a range of stakeholders including our local Emergency Response Outbreak Advisory Group GPs, Dr James Hardy and Prof Sue Kurrle, Geriatricians in Northern Sydney LHD.

 

Process for Residents Developing COVID-19 Symptoms

During Regular Hours

Northern Sydney Local health District (NSLHD) mobile ‘Swab Team’ is available to attend Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) to complete COVID-19 swabbing. The ‘Swab Team’ can be contacted on 0438 613 273 during these hours:

  • Monday to Sunday (7 days)
  • 9am – 5pm

After Hours

Outside of these hours, NSLHD does not provide a mobile COVID-19 testing service.

If a RACF resident develops COVID-19 like symptoms outside of these hours, please implement the following recommendations:

    • Contact the resident’s GP for medical advice and/or follow your usual after hours GP protocols.
    • Isolate the resident and implement contact and droplet precautions.
    • Utilise appropriate PPE.
    • If the resident remains well enough to remain in the RACF, contact the ‘Swab Team’ at 9am the following day.
    • If the resident becomes acutely unwell, requiring urgent medical attention, call an ambulance on 000 and advise that the resident is potentially COVID-19 positive.

 

Guidelines for Aged Care Facilities on COVID-19 outbreaks – Department of Health

 

COVID-19 Vaccination for Aged Care Information

 

Helping patients with Dementia navigate COVID-19

  • National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500 – for  all health professionals supporting people living with dementia, and family carers in need of support.

 

Guidance for RACFs on the public health management of acute respiratory infections (including COVID-19, influenza and RSV)

MBS telehealth arrangements

From 1 July 2022, ongoing MBS telehealth arrangements remain in place and provide for a wide range of telephone and video services by qualified health practitioners and support safe and equitable telehealth services which are informed by the MBS Review Taskforce Principles. Previous temporary arrangements ceased on 30 June 2022.

  • Click here for an outline and factsheets concerning MBS telehealth and phone consultation item numbers.

 

We can help you set up telehealth technology in your practice

SNHN can help primary care practitioners and specialists get set up with a free, fit-for-purpose telehealth solution designed for health professionals. Email your query to digitalhealth@snhn.org.au

 

Process for prescribing during telehealth consults

The Department of Health has issued a ‘Guide for Prescribers’ fact sheet, containing  arrangements for prescriptions to support telehealth services.

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.

People with coronavirus may experience any of the following:

  • fever
  • cough
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste or
  • loss of smell.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you can:

  • call your GP
  • call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the Healthdirect symptom checker here
  • find out which kind of test you should do by visiting the NSW Health webpage
  • In an emergency dial 000

Vaccine information for community members

  • ATAGI recommends a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for adults in the following groups, if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received:
    • All adults aged 65 years and over
    • Adults aged 18-64 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
  • ATAGI advises the following groups should consider a 2023 booster dose if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received, based on an individual risk benefit assessment with their immunisation provider.
    • All Adults aged 18-64 years without risk factors for severe COVID-19
    • Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
  • ATAGI advises that a booster dose is not recommended at this time for children and adolescents aged under the age of 18 who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19.

For more details (including vaccine choice), click here.

What is the difference between a ‘third primary dose’ and a ‘booster dose’?

Third primary dose

  • ATAGI recommends a 3rd primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in severely immunocompromised populations to address the risk of suboptimal or non-response to the standard 2-dose schedule.
  • The 3rd dose is intended to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.
  • An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be used for this third dose. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) is not preferred for this 3rd dose.

Read more about third dose of the vaccine.

Booster doses

Check the Department of Health webpage on booster doses for eligibility and further details.

Click here to access the Vaccine Clinic Finder.

If you don’t want to use the Vaccine Clinic Finder above to book, other ways to make a COVID-19 vaccination booking include:

 

Find information on COVID-19 vaccines for…
  • pregnant and breastfeeding women: click here
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: click here
  • people with a disability: click here
  • people with chronic health conditions: click here
  • aged care residents and their families: click here
  • frail older people, including those in residential aged care facilities (information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination decisions): click here
  • Everyone in Australia aged 5 years and over is eligible: click here.
  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years: click here
Before vaccination
After vaccination

The Therapeutic Goods Administration have created a COVID-19 vaccine information page for consumers and health professionals which answers common questions about how the TGA assesses and monitors a vaccine for safety, quality, and effectiveness.

You can get an immunisation history statement or digital certificate to show proof of your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. Click here to find out how.

If you have disabilities or elderly and unable to leave home, we provide an in-home service. Please email sneoc@snhn.org.au for further details on this.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District has made a vaccination sedation service available for young individuals requiring sedation to receive a COVID vaccination, located at the Royal North Shore Hospital Child and Adolescent short stay unit.

This service is available for any individual under 15 years and 11 months, however they can prioritise anyone above that age if necessary.

Referrals should be sent to NSLHD-vaccinationsedationintake@health.nsw.gov.au, and the anaesthetist and nursing team will review them.

If you’ve received a TGA-approved or TGA-recognised COVID-19 vaccine outside of Australia, and you received it on or after 1 October 2020, you can have it recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (the AIR) when you return to Australia. It will then appear on all of the following:

Find more details here about having your COVID vaccines recorded on the AIR: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/getting-help-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations/how-get-help-proof/help-adding-overseas-vaccinations

COVID-19 information for community members

From 1 October 2023, positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) results will no longer be registered with Service NSW. The RAT registration portal will close on this date.

  • NSW Health still recommends you should stay at home and not visit high risk settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals if you have cold or flu symptoms. This is to help protect other people. Find out what to do if your RAT is positive or negative.
  • If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, speak to your doctor and make a plan about testing and antiviral medicines before you get sick. If you are unwell and can’t contact your doctor, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the online Service Finder.
  • Free rapid antigen tests will no longer be available at Service NSW locations from 1 October 2023. Rapid antigen tests can still be purchased at pharmacies and supermarkets.

Older people or those with high risk of severe disease are also encouraged to speak to their doctor or vaccination provider about their COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Where can I find trusted sources of information?

Whilst media coverage of COVID-19 can help  you feel informed, it can also trigger feelings of anxiety and agitation. To stay up to date with accurate, factual information you can access:

Sometimes the information provided by the NSW Ministry of Health and Australian Government Department of Health may differ. This is because the NSW Government provides information  specifically for NSW, which has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Australian Government provides information which is relevant for the whole of Australia – as a result, their messages may not be identical.

 

Multilingual Resources

NSW Health COVID-19 Information and resources in languages other than English

COVID-19 in-language resources from NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service

Translated resources for health workers and communities

Information from the Australian Government in your language  Find information on health, education, business and financial support, visas and the border during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBS Radio Coronavirus Information in Your Language

 

Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheets

COVID-19 – What you need to know

COVID-19 – Information on social distancing 

COVID-19 – Information about routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community 

 

NSW Health and Australian Government Department of Health Information

NSW Health Novel coronavirus FAQs

Australian Government Department of Health Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Information 

 

Healthdirect 

healthdirect website coronavirus (COVID-19) hub – first point of reference for reliable information about COVID-19

healthdirect Symptom Checker – an online tool that allows people to check their symptoms using a simple self-guided process.

 

Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19

Person-centred emergency preparedness planning for COVID-19

  • information on how to assist people with disability in planning for how they will manage the impacts of the pandemic

Coronavirus (COVID-19) hospital companion for people with disability

  • information on how to assist a person with disability if they need to go to hospital

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for Families

  • information for families of a person with intellectual or developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

Information for Disability Support Providers and Workers

  • information and guidance for disability support providers and workers who provide health care to people with intellectual or developmental disability

Guide to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability care providers

  • information and guidance for disability care providers on the use of PPE

Information for support workers and carers on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for people with disability

  • information on who should be tested, where testing can be done, and how to explain the testing process to a person with disability

Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover completely, but some people may develop long COVID. Long COVID is where symptoms of COVID-19 remain, or develop, long after the initial infection – usually after 4 weeks. It is not yet known how long symptoms of long COVID will last. In a large survey of people in the United Kingdom who had COVID-19, nearly 10% of people reported at least one symptom 12 weeks after their initial infection.  

The Department has released a fact sheet on long COVID aimed at consumers. The links to the resources are below: 

Vaccine information for pharmacies

Preparing an anaphylaxis response kit (click here to download PDF)

 

 

Managing anaphylaxis after vaccination (click here to download PDF)

(Please note, the images above may not be the most up-to-date versions. Please click on the links above to ensure you access the most current PDF.)

 

NSW Health info sheet: anaphylaxis after vaccination

This NSW Health information sheet covers:

  • signs and symptoms
  • managing anaphylaxis
  • risk factors for fatal anaphylaxis

ATAGI Site Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccination in Community Pharmacies

COVID-19 vaccination requirements in community pharmacies have been developed by the Australian Government in consultation with expert advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and standards outlined in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Identified/participating community pharmacies must confirm compliance with the minimum requirements prior to delivery of vaccine doses. Find requirements here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-site-requirements-for-covid-19-vaccination-in-community-pharmacies

NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards

The NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards have been further updated and published on the NSW Health website.

Online Training Resources

PRODA is an online authentication system providers use to securely access government online services such Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and Health Professionals online Services (HPOS).

A PRODA account can be created by visiting the PRODA registration page here and selecting Register Now. You’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Create your account – you will need to provide personal details, create a username and password, and verify your email address.
  2. Verify your identity – you will need to verify your identity online using Government-issued identity documents e.g Australian Passport, Medicare card. A list of documents accepted can be viewed here.
  3. Link existing records – to gain access to services you’re eligible for as an individual such as HPOS, you’ll need to link your PRODA account to the service by clicking on the tile and enter any relevant details.

Recognised vaccination providers and administrators can use the AIR site through HPOS to record immunisation details for individuals, view and print immunisation history statements, request reports and update their contact details.

To download and print an immunisation history statement, please follow instructions here

OR

view our guide here.

NSW Health has developed a procedures guide around the cold chain management of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. This guide describes the process of receiving, storing, and administrating a COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to view.

Other useful resources

  1. Vaccine Refrigerator Protocol
  2. Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Reporting Form
  3. NSW Cold Chain Breach Protocol
  4. Cold Chain Toolkit
  5. Strive for 5 guidelines

 

Click here to download the above infographic.

Practical infection prevention and control steps for patients, staff and managers in community pharmacies: please see info from NSW Health

All uncommon, serious or unexpected Adverse Event Following Immunisations (AEFIs) should be reported to your local public health unit.

To report a suspected AEFI, please complete the National Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) Reporting Form and contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

Further information: NSW Health – what is an AEFI?