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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 from 23rd September 2022.

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TSS)

Information for immunisation providers.

For the latest ATAGI clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines from October 2022, please click here.

 

Thank you for your continued efforts in supporting vaccination in our northside community.

The ability to continue the roll-out is ongoing.

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

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

Screening and consent

  • Immunisation providers should obtain valid consent, and ensure that the correct equipment and procedures are in place before vaccination: see “Preparing for Vaccination” information in the Australian Immunisation Handbook
  • Consent form for COVID-19 vaccination: click here
COVID-19 vaccine Transer

If you require transfer of COVID-19 vaccination, contact covid19eoi@snhn.org.au for details.

For full details on transfers, including how the vaccines should be transported, please read the following from the Department of Health:

For further enquires about donating or receiving additional vaccines, please contact us at covid19eoi@snhn.org.au.

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:

COVID vaccine delivery between primary care
Multicultural communications to patients and clients
  • COVID-19 Vaccines Multicultural Outreach: Stakeholder Pack (Department of Health): click here.
    • Contains translated resources explaining recent updates to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout; information on pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines; videos from community members explaining why they got vaccinated; easy-to-read factsheets and a range of other videos, audio, posters, social media assets, and factsheets.
  • Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is available here.
Vaccination sedation service for young people

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.

The referral form is to be completed by a GP or carer for patients requiring sedation and returned via email to: NSLHD-VaccinationSedationIntake@health.nsw.gov.au.

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

 

COVID-19 Infection Control Online Training

This is designed to provide training on protecting yourself and the people you are caring for from infection with COVID-19. The training takes approximately 30 minutes.  Training is accessible here.

 

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

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 – Dept of Health

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidelines-for-outbreaks-in-residential-care-facilities (latest version is available but currently under review by Australian Government Department of Health)

 

COVID-19 Vaccination for Aged Care Information

 

Department of Health newsletter for aged care sector

This specific COVID-19-related newsletter ensures those in the aged care sector have access to best-practice information and resources. You can subscribe to the newsletter here or view web versions of past editions here.

 

Helping patients with Dementia navigate COVID-19

  • To find out more click here.
  • National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500 – for  all health professionals supporting people living with dementia, and family carers in need of support during this difficult time.

 

Information for discharging new and returning residents

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-discharging-residents.aspx

 

Flu Vaccination Information for Aged Care Facilities

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/residential-care.aspx

 

Secondary Triage – Information for Patients and Their Families, and RACF workers

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/communities-of-practice/Pages/guide-safe-admissions-racf.aspx#secondary

 

Palliative Care

Advance Care Planning during the time of COVID-19:
https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/for-health-and-care-workers/covid-19-web#/

 

Caring at Home package for carers during COVID

https://www.caringathomeproject.com.au/Portals/13/Documents/caring@home-FactSheet-COVID-UPDATE-WEB.pdf

 

Palliative care resources for GPs during COVID-19

https://www.caresearch.com.au/caresearch/tabid/5971/Default.aspx

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
  • Nebuliser
  • High flow nasal prong oxygen (HFNPO2)
  • Non-invasive ventilation (NIV)

From 13 March 2020 to 31 December 2021, new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

  • The list of telehealth services has continued to expand since 13 March. The latest factsheet provides details on all current telehealth items.
  • The MBS telehealth items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, participating midwives and allied health providers.
  • Please read the factsheet above for more information (conditions, exceptions, etc).

 

MBS items for longer telephone consults in hotspot areas

From 16th July 2021, Medicare-supported telephone consultations lasting more than 20 minutes have returned to Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspots.

MBS rebates for Level C telephone consultations with a GP took effect on Friday 16 July. A new MBS item (92746) was introduced for a phone attendance by a GP lasting at least 20 minutes, if the service is performed on a person who is in:

  • a COVID-19 Commonwealth declared hotspot
  • COVID-19 isolation or quarantine because of a state or territory public health order.

An MBS item for Level C phone attendances by other medical practitioners (92747) is also available.

These items are exempt from the ‘usual medical practitioner’ rule that require a patient to have received a face-to-face consultation from the medical practitioner or the practice in the last twelve months.

Visit MBS Online for more information.

 

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 interim arrangements for prescriptions to support telehealth services.

It contains instructions on how to correctly send prescriptions to pharmacies via email, text message or fax, as well as other guidance on medicine delivery services, and existing prescriptions and repeats.

NSW Government Clinical Excellence Commission 

Training, posters and resources on using PPE (fit-testing, PPE, airborne and contact precautions) in response to COVID-19 in NSW (for health professionals). Click here to access.

 

Download: Department of Health: Guidance on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in non-inpatient healthcare setting during the COVID-19 outbreak

 

Video series: how to use personal protective equipment (PPE)

The RACGP has released a handy series of short videos on using personal protective equipment. See below:

  1. How to sanitise your hands
  2. How to don PPE
  3. How to fit a P2/N95 mask
  4. How to remove and dispose of PPE

View full version here (7 mins)

 

Other helpful links:

Please note that the last PPE orders for 2022 are to be in by 3 pm on 9th December as the NMS (National Medical Stockpile) is closed over the Xmas period.

As you may already be aware, the Australian Government has agreed to extend the ongoing supply of PPE from the National Medical stockpile to support outbreak response and preparedness to 31 December 2022.

Please note that after PPE is distributed to you, the Practice is now the owners of the stock and can dispose/destroy/donate expired stock as they see fit.

We would also like to inform you the hand sanitiser is due to expire 10 October 2022, and the NMS (National Medical Stockpile) will not be ordering additional quantities of this item. Hand sanitiser will be included in bundles while stock lasts and then will be discontinued. Practices are encouraged to seek local supply available commercially for this PPE.

Currently, these measures are in place until 31 December 2022. However, the Government will continue to review the epidemiology and will further recalibrate the COVID-19 response according to expert advice.

 

GPs and GPRCs Order Form

Please read the following points to assist you in completing the order form correctly and the relevant sections:

Following feedback from PHNs and practices, we have made additional changes to the ordering guidelines.

It is no longer necessary for practices to order PPE in complete bundles. Practices should be advised they are now able to request only the items they require when placing an order. PPE is only for GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs willing to manage COVID19-positive patients face-to-face, until 31st December 2022, you need to source your own still if for Staff, Nurses and patients.

When ordering, you still need to put the GP Provider number placing the order so we can order as per the guidelines.

  • Section 1 put the GP provider Numbers then if you require P2/N95 respirators and Gloves tick what is required per practitioner, you can still order full bundles if required.
  • Section 2: Only complete this section if you have damaged stock.
  • Section 3: Pulse Oximeters – The limit of up to 10 pulse oximeters per practice has been lifted. Eligible practices can now order additional pulse oximeters
  • Section 4: if in section 1 you only want to part order please use section 4 please tick for your GPs if you require –  Surgical Masks / Goggles-face shields / Gowns.

Please note that hand sanitisers are no longer available, you must not place an order for a practitioner if you have previously ordered PPE items for the same practitioner within the last 4 weeks.

Pharmacy PPE Order Form

This order form is intended to supply approximately one month’s supply of PPE to each pharmacist administering COVID-19 vaccinations Please note you must not place an order for a pharmacist if you have previously ordered PPE items for the same pharmacist within the last 4 weeks.

  • Pharmacists must provide PHNs with the APHRA number of the relevant pharmacist (trained to provide Covid vaccinations), for whom the PPE is sought.
  • If the pharmacy cannot access PPE through this process, we can proceed with the order. However, Emergency Provision is per Pharmacy not per Pharmacist, eligible for 1 box of surgical masks.

 

Allied Health PPE Order Form

Emergency Provision PPE can only be accessed by Allied Health professionals where there is no local supply available commercially, or from another State or Territory government schemes. Allied Health Professionals can access the following Emergency Provision PPE: • Surgical masks – (1 box per practice)

  • Section 1: Allied Health – Emergency Provision PPE can only be accessed where there is no local supply available commercially, or from another State or Territory government schemes
Please send your orders to masks@snhn.org.au

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
  • visit a respiratory clinic (see details below)
  • visit a NSW Health COVID-19 clinic (see details below)
  • In an emergency dial 000

You can use the healthdirect online Coronavirus Symptom Checker tool at the bottom of this section to find out what, if any, actions you need to take to protect yourself and your community.

 

COVID-19 testing options: what are the differences?

From Respiratory Clinics to self-collection test kits at home, click here to find out which testing option is best for you.

Where can I get tested?

Use the NSW Health ‘COVID-19 clinics’ tool to search for your nearest testing clinic by suburb, postcode or local council.

Vaccine information for community members

An additional booster, or fourth dose, is recommended for people at increased risk of severe illness, to be given 3 months after their first booster dose.

This additional booster will be the fifth dose for people who are severely immunocompromised.

You should get the fourth dose if you are:

  • 50 years or older
  • 16 years or older and a resident of an aged care or disability care facility
  • 16 years or older and severely immunocompromised
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and older
  • 16 years or older with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
  • 16 years or older with a disability.

ATAGI has advised people aged 30 to 49 years old can receive a fourth dose if they choose. To get your fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your GP or local vaccinating pharmacist.

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

You are eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 booster dose if you are 12 to 15, and:
are severely immunocompromised, or have a disability with significant or complex health needs, or have severe, complex, or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 are 16 years and older, and completed your primary dose course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 3 months ago.

If you are aged 18 years or older, you can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses. Read more about booster doses here and see if you are eligible. Third doses and booster doses are available now and free for everyone.

If you speak a language other than English and would like to find a vaccination clinic, please follow the instructions below: 

Click here, then select your preferred language.

Follow the prompts.

If your preferred language is not listed here, you can still call the National Translating and Interpreting Service (call 131 450), who may be able to find an interpreter for you. This interpreter will then interpret a call between you and the National Coronavirus Helpline so that you can find out your eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination and find a vaccination clinic.

Click on the image below or here to access the Vaccine Clinic Finder.

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

 

Find information on COVID-19 vaccines for…
  • priority groups and when you will receive the COVID-19 vaccine: click here
  • pregnant and breastfeeding women: click here
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: 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, incl. 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.
  • ATAGI 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

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

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
  • visit a respiratory clinic (see details below)
  • visit a NSW Health COVID-19 clinic (see details below)
  • In an emergency dial 000

You can use the healthdirect online Coronavirus Symptom Checker tool at the bottom of this section to find out what, if any, actions you need to take to protect yourself and your community.

 

COVID-19 testing options: what are the differences?

From Respiratory Clinics to self-collection test kits at home, click here to find out which testing option is best for you.

Where can I get tested?

Use the NSW Health ‘COVID-19 clinics’ tool to search for your nearest testing clinic by suburb, postcode or local council.

Self-isolate when you have a COVID-19 test, are diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been told you are a close or casual contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Self-isolation periods and testing requirements differ based on exposure and vaccination status.

For full details, including how you will find out if you are a close contact, please see the following links:

Have you been informed that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19? Find out what to do next.

It is important to ensure you are still taking care of your health during this unprecedented time. GPs and Allied Health Practitioners are here for you during COVID-19.

Practices are taking extra measures to ensure patient welfare, so it is still safe to visit your GP, Physio, Podiatrist or Dietician.

If you have a chronic disease, or if you are concerned about a change to your health, you must visit a health professional.

You can contact your local practice to book a face-to-face appointment or arrange a telehealth consultation over the phone.

The following videos have been designed to provide you with further information about using health care services during COVID-19.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU: Healthcare is open

It is safe to return to your GPs, specialists, allied health professionals and hospitals during this time to receive regular healthcare.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU: Healthcare is open (Professor Sue Kurrle)

Geriatrician, Professor Sue Kurrle, tells us why older Australians should look after their health in the times of COVID-19. It is safe to return to your GPs, specialists, allied health professionals and hospitals during this time to receive regular healthcare.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Healthcare is open so see your GP (RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon)

RACGP President, Dr Harry Nespolon shares the importance of maintaining your healthcare appointments during COVID-19.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Looking after your mental & physical health (Clinical and Counselling Psychologist Ros Knight)

Clinical and Counselling Psychologist, Ros Knight, shares the importance of looking after your physical and mental health in the times of COVID-19.

WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Healthcare is open so visit your GP today! (Professor Simon Willcock)

Local GP, Professor Simon Willcock shares the importance of maintaining your regular health check-ups during COVID-19.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 everyone should:

  • Find out what you can and can’t do in NSW under the new laws.
  • Practice good hygiene measures
    – make sure ​you clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
    – cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
    – avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
    – clean and disinfect your home or business to help to prevent the virus from spreading from contaminated surfaces
    – stay at home if you feel unwell or are experiencing any symptoms
  • Practice social distancing You should stay at least 1.5m away from others. Avoid physical greetings of any kind such as hugs or handshakes. Read more here.
  • Wear a mask in some situations – The NSW Government is strongly encouraging greater use of masks in high-risk public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant specifically recommends:
      • the use of face masks in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in supermarkets
      • the use of face masks (where practical) in indoor settings with a higher risk of transmission, such as for the staff of hospitality and customer-facing venues i.e. cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs
      • during attendance at places of worship.

    For a quick guide on how to wear a mask, click here. (NB: this resource is available on 67 other languages here.)

Some people should:

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Many aspects of life are affected by a pandemic. Most people have little experience of an event like COVID-19 and it can be quite overwhelming when your health, social life, employment and financial situation are impacted. It is important to look after your mental health during this time. You can do this by:

 

Physical care

Nutrition

Exercise

Although it is may be more challenging to stay fit when self-quarantining, daily exercise is critical to overall physical and mental health. You could take up running, yoga, or other home workouts. There are many free online guides and mobile apps to guide you through home workouts. Some of these include:

 

Temporary changes to cancer-screening programs

During lockdowns, some of the three national cancer-screening programs may be temporarily suspended. For more information, see the websites below:

 

What if I need to see a doctor?


If you need to see a doctor, call (don’t visit) your local practice. The staff will help you decide whether you require a face-to-face consultation, or a consultation over the phone or by video (‘telehealth’).

  • Telehealth is designed to protect you, your GP and the wider community by reducing the number of people visiting GP waiting rooms, where the virus could potentially spread
  • If you have symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, headache, cough, sore throat or muscle aches, your doctor may refer you to a Respiratory Clinic or an Emergency Department. If you need a prescription your doctor will send this directly to your local pharmacy where you can collect it, or your pharmacy may be able to deliver to your home.

The Home Medicines Service is available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. For more information click here.

 

Domestic violence and homelessness services

Domestic Violence Services NSW

Homelessness Services NSW

 

Services for older Australians

  • Older or vulnerable people can contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit nsw.gov.au/. This service provided daily check-in phone calls and can assist with making arrangements for grocery shopping, medication and other tasks if needed.
  • The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line (1800 171 866) is an important first step for any older Australians who need support or assistance. Call Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8.30am to 6pm.

 

Financial assistance

Resources for businesses in regards to COVID-19 vaccination

The NSW Government has prepared a series of resources covering what businesses need to know:

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

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 digitalhealth@snhn.org.au.

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

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.

Additional Resources
How to order vaccines online
Receiving vaccine delivery
National Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Strive for 5
Vaccine Storage and Cold Chain Management Policy
NSW Health Vaccine Refrigerator Protocol for Public Facilities
Quality Auditing Reporting System (QARS)
Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Waste Reporting Form
Vaccine Cooler Temperature Chart
NSW Cold Chain Breach Protocol
Cold Chain Toolkit
ATAGI advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

Information on Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine

Information on Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine

Information on Comirnaty (Pfizer) 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.

 

 BenefitsCost
Go Bookings/Vaccine ConnectIntegrates with AIR. 
Payment can be made online. 
Management of bookings, including walk ins.  
Can add multiple services. 
SMS reminders.  
Voucher management system. 
Multi-dose booking function.  
Inventory management. 
Ability to disable services e.g., flu vaccines when stock is low.  
$100 per month. 
$250 once off activation fee. 
HealthEngineIntegrates with AIR via Med Advisor. 
Voucher management system. 
Online pre-screening forms. 
Recall system to remind patients of subsequent vaccine dose. 
SMS reminders. 
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 NGIntegrates 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. 
SMS reminders. 
User guides and training videos.  
Generates unique link to be shared with customers to book online.  
Guild Members:  
Annual – $1644.50 
Monthly – $146.30 

Non-Guild Members: 
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:

  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.

For Patients
  1. 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.
  2. Display signage/posters to encourage patients with symptoms to seek testing for COVID-19.
  3. 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.
  4. Put alcohol-based hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the pharmacy, including the entrance and at counters where surfaces are touched.
  5. Inform patients of places where they can wash their hands with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds).
  6. Encourage suitable patients to get vaccinated for influenza when available for flu season.
For Staff
  1. Be familiar with your pharmacy’s protocols and procedures.
  2. 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.
  3. Staff who are close or casual contacts should abide by their work place protocols and procedures.
  4. Encourage patients seeking cold and flu preparations to take a COVID-19 test.
  5. 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.
  6. Be ready to respond to enquiries about COVID-19 vaccinations by referring to COVID-19 vaccination in NSW and COVID-19 vaccination FAQs .
  7. 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.
  8. Keep a distance of 1.5 metres between staff and patients where possible.
  9. Limit the number of people in the consultation room to the pharmacist, patient, and carer (where necessary).
  10. Wear a mask if you’re providing services to a patient with an acute respiratory condition, or if otherwise indicated by NSW Health.
  11. 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.
For Managers
  1. 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.
  2. Ensure patient COVID-19 screening processes are understood and followed by all staff.
  3. Incorporate recommendations on infection prevention into each step of service models. This includes handwashing facilities, hand sanitiser provision, physical distancing and wearing masks.
  4. 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.
  5. Staff who are close or casual contacts must follow NSW Health advice and only return to work when advised by NSW Health.
  6. 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?