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.
- Anaphylaxis: For GPs and practices undertaking vaccinations, before any vaccination session, check that you have the protocols, equipment and medicines to manage anaphylaxis. Please check you have an anaphylaxis response kit on hand. See anaphylaxis response kit for what is required.
- TGA Adverse Event Following Immunisation reporting form
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:
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:
- Department of Health: Information for COVID-19 vaccination providers
- ATAGI COVID-19 vaccine advice
- Health Pathways COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- NSW Health COVID-19 vaccines
- 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.
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:
- practice management software
- the AIR site via Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) using PRODA.
General immunisation training for providers
- Vaccine Storage and Cold Chain Management
- Immunisation Practice
- 347 Immunisation for Health Practitioners
- How to set up your access to AIR (Australian Immunisation Register)
Multicultural communications to patients and clients
- Department of Health: COVID-19 vaccine information in your language
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated information and advice for health professionals
- NSW Health guidance (includes FAQs, clinical advice, resources and more)
- Australian Government Department of Health website
- Home Care Guidelines for Adult Patients with mild COVID-19
Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19
- Helpline to assist health professionals to deliver care to people with a disability (diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms): call 1800 131 330 between 8am – 9pm (AEST), Monday to Friday. Calls will be answered by health professionals with disability service qualifications and experience working with people with disability. More info here.
- Department of Health factsheets
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
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
- COVID-19 vaccination – Aged care stakeholder kit: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/covid-19-vaccination-aged-care-stakeholder-kit
- Reporting of clinical incidents: Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC): 1800 318 208 (7 days, 7 am-10 pm AEDT)
- Triaging and Directing Enquiries: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-triaging-process-for-aged-care-facilities
- Guidance for monitoring side effects of COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-monitoring-and-reporting-side-effects
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)
Respiratory high-risk therapies
The NSW Government’s Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) has released some resources on the use of respiratory therapies that generate aerosolised particles. These therapies are capable of transmitting respiratory viruses including COVID-19. For this reason, they are considered high-risk.
The documents, which can be found here, provide some guidance around how to mitigate the risk of these therapies to keep people safe. There are also some alternatives that should be considered. These documents were informed by an evidence review, and developed by experts from the respiratory, intensive care, anaesthetics, paediatrics and infection control disciplines.
- Respiratory physiotherapy
- High flow nasal prong oxygen (HFNPO2)
- Non-invasive ventilation (NIV)
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 email@example.com
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.
Video: how to use personal protective equipment (PPE)
View full version here (7 mins)
Other helpful links:
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:
- tiredness (fatigue)
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- loss of taste or
- loss of smell.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms you can:
- 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.
Check the Department of Health webpage on booster doses for eligibility and further details.
- Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
- COVID-19 vaccines – Is it true? – your questions and concerns answered.
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
- For information on what to do before you get vaccinated click here.
- COVID-19 Vaccination Consent Form
- Easy read consent form from the Department of Health
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.
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 NSLHDfirstname.lastname@example.org, 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:
- your COVID-19 digital certificate
- your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
- your immunisation history statement.
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:
- AHPPC statement on COVID-19 winter update and ongoing health protection measures to support our community
- NSW Government COVID-19 webpage: gov.au/covid-19
- Service NSW App (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play)
- The Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus Australia App (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play)
- The Australian Government’s WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android for official advice and information in real-time
- Australian Government Department of Health website: health.gov.au
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.
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.
Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheets
NSW Health and Australian Government Department of Health Information
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
- information on how to assist people with disability in planning for how they will manage the impacts of the pandemic
- information on how to assist a person with disability if they need to go to hospital
- information for families of a person with intellectual or developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic
- information and guidance for disability support providers and workers who provide health care to people with intellectual or developmental disability
- information and guidance for disability care providers on the use of PPE
- 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:
You can view your customer’s immunisation status by accessing the “Immunisation view” from their My Health Record via your conformant dispensing software or the National Provider Portal. The immunisation details in their My Health Record are directly from AIR.
The immunisation view will inform you when their next immunisation(s) due and their status for the COVID-19 vaccine. Below is a snapshot of a consolidated view of the Immunisation document in a customer’s MHR:
NOTE: Under the My Health Record Act 2012, as a healthcare provider you have the right to access and view the My Health Record of a customer you are providing care for. This means you do not need to obtain consent prior to accessing and uploading information when providing services to the customer.
If you need help viewing your customer’s immunisation record, please contact email@example.com.
Preparing an anaphylaxis response kit (click here to download PDF)
Managing anaphylaxis after vaccination (click here to download 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
- WEBINAR: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia – COVID-19 Vaccination: What do we know so far?
- MODULE: Vaccine Storage and Cold Chain Management
- VIDEO: NCIRS Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) presentation
It is a requirement for pharmacists involved in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to have completed the COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program. This is to ensure vaccination providers are competent in the safe management and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
The training content is delivered via an e-learning platform at no cost which you can access and complete by visiting covid19vaccinationtraining.org.au.
Training is also available for non-clinical and administration staff who can access the non-clinical modules which cover the handling, storage, and communication around the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Booking and patient management systems
Particpating pharmacies will receive vaccine stock and access to the National Booking System. If pharmacies already have a booking/management system in place, that can also be used as majority of vendors integrate with the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
HealthEngine to build COVID-19 National Booking System
The Department of Health has selected HealthEngine as the booking platform that underpins the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccination information booking service allows patients to locate and book appointments with clinics. Pharmacies, General Practices, and state-run vaccination clinics, will be able to use the platform where they do not already have a booking system in place.
|Go Bookings/Vaccine Connect||Integrates with AIR. |
Payment can be made online.
Management of bookings, including walk ins.
Can add multiple services.
Voucher management system.
Multi-dose booking function.
Ability to disable services e.g., flu vaccines when stock is low.
|$100 per month.
$250 once off activation fee.
|HealthEngine||Integrates with AIR via Med Advisor. |
Voucher management system.
Online pre-screening forms.
Recall system to remind patients of subsequent vaccine dose.
Payment can be made online or instore.
Management of bookings, including walk ins.
Electronic recording of vaccination encounters.
Ability to manage appointment availability.
Can add multiple services.
Ability to disable services e.g., flu vaccines when stock is low.
|$85 per month.
$125 once off activation fee.
Provide ongoing support.
Can provide training sessions.
|GuildCare NG||Integrates with AIR. |
Integrated with more than 10 dispensing vendors.
Subscription includes myPharmacyLink – medication management app for patients.
Manage service appointments via inbuilt calendar.
Select dates and times services are available.
Ability to disable services e.g., flu vaccines when stock is low.
User guides and training videos.
Generates unique link to be shared with customers to book online.
Annual – $1644.50
Monthly – $146.30
Annual – $2194.50
Monthly - $192.13
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:
- Create your account – you will need to provide personal details, create a username and password, and verify your email address.
- 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.
- 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
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
- Vaccine Refrigerator Protocol
- Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Reporting Form
- NSW Cold Chain Breach Protocol
- Cold Chain Toolkit
- Strive for 5 guidelines
Click here to download the above infographic.
- Display signage/posters in the pharmacy to encourage patients with symptoms to identify themselves early to pharmacy staff so they can be triaged accordingly. Signage is available from NSW Health.
- Display signage/posters to encourage patients with symptoms to seek testing for COVID-19.
- Encourage physical distancing of 1.5 metres where possible, for example through floor markings and barriers to create space at counters, seated areas, etc. Speak to patients from a safe distance to avoid contact with respiratory droplets.
- Put alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the pharmacy, including the entrance and at counters where surfaces are touched.
- Inform patients of places where they can wash their hands with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds).
- Encourage suitable patients to get vaccinated for influenza when available for flu season.
- Be familiar with your pharmacy’s protocols and procedures.
- Don’t go to work if you have one or more COVID-19 symptoms. Make alternative arrangements with your workplace and get tested as soon as possible. Do not return to work until you receive a negative test result and are feeling well.
- Staff who are close or casual contacts should abide by their work place protocols and procedures.
- Encourage patients seeking cold and flu preparations to take a COVID-19 test.
- Follow patient screening protocols and be prepared to follow the steps to minimise COVID-19 risk if providing services to a patient who has COVID-19 symptoms.
- Be ready to respond to enquiries about COVID-19 vaccinations by referring to COVID-19 vaccination in NSW and COVID-19 vaccination FAQs .
- Practise effective hand hygiene, wash hands thoroughly or use an alcohol-based hand rub throughout the work day and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- Keep a distance of 1.5 metres between staff and patients where possible.
- Limit the number of people in the consultation room to the pharmacist, patient, and carer (where necessary).
- Wear a mask if you’re providing services to a patient with an acute respiratory condition, or if otherwise indicated by NSW Health.
- Pharmacists undertaking direct clinical services (e.g. vaccination or examining a skin rash) should follow standard precautions – personal protective equipment, such as a mask or gloves, would not be required routinely unless there is a risk of exposure to blood or body substances. Hand hygiene remains the cornerstone of infection prevention. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene.
- It is recommended that community pharmacies have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. This plan should consider the unique circumstances and location of the business, and routinely be reviewed and updated.
- Ensure patient COVID-19 screening processes are understood and followed by all staff.
- Incorporate recommendations on infection prevention into each step of service models. This includes handwashing facilities, hand sanitiser provision, physical distancing and wearing masks.
- Pharmacies should consider the Clinical Excellence Commission advice on when healthcare workers in different contexts should wear masks. If there is active community transmission, NSW Health strongly recommends that pharmacists and staff working directly with patients wear masks.
- Staff who are close or casual contacts must follow NSW Health advice and only return to work when advised by NSW Health.
- Encourage staff to be up-to-date with all vaccinations. This is to protect themselves, their families and vulnerable patients from seasonal flu.
Cleaning and Waste Management
Key recommendations for pharmacies include:
– Thorough cleaning of the environment, particularly high touch surfaces like benchtops and handles
– timing scheduled appointments to support physical distancing and appropriate cleaning of surfaces
– ensuring closed bins are provided for safe disposal of tissues by staff and patients.
Cleaning and waste management should be included in the pharmacy’s COVID-19 and Disaster Plan.
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?