Looking ahead – COVID vaccination

COVID vaccination for the first phase (1a) have commenced at RPAH – this will only cover frontline healthcare workers in the hospital, quarantine hotel staff, border staff, etc. A roll-out to Aged Care and disability residential homes for staff and residents will also be commenced in the coming weeks. General practice is not involved in this stage of the roll-out.

For phase 1b, the Government is NOT giving this project to NSW Health, but is engaging some general practices to start vaccinating over 70s, indigenous people over 55, other healthcare workers and emergency services workers and younger people with chronic medical conditions*. As well as the eligibility checker this article gives a guide to when vaccines might be available.

We do not have any solid information about when and if our practice will be receiving any COVID vaccinations.Unfortunately we can’t commit to being one of those sites as it would require us to commit to vaccinating a much larger group than our regular patients (ie. about 500-700 patients per week). We don’t anticipate having that capacity as well as maintaining enough appointments for all the other care we provide.

Please be assured – if we have the COVID vaccine we will let you know, if you have to go somewhere else we will provide you with this information. We will be using email alerts, updating our website, and are compiling lists of people in the 1b priority group so that we can make sure you are in the loop.

It’s highly likely that we will have vaccine supply for phase 2 of the roll-out. If and when that happens we will be contacting our existing patients in those groups to advise them about vaccine availability and appointments. Watch this space!

Vaccination priority groups, as per the Australian Government advice:

Phase 1a – up to 1.4m doses 

  • Quarantine and border workers (70,000)
  • Frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation (100,000)
  • Aged care and disability care staff (318,000)
  • Aged care and disability care residents (190,000)

Phase 1b – up to 14.8m doses 

  • organ transplant recipients who are on immune suppressive therapy
  • people who have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • people on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • people who have haematological cancers, for example, leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome, diagnosed within the last 5 years
  • people having chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • people with heart disease such as coronary heart disease or failure
  • people with chronic lung disease, excluding mild or moderate asthma
  • people who have a non-haematological cancer, diagnosed in the last 12 months
  • people who have diabetes
  • people with severe obesity, with a Body Mass Index of 40 or over
  • people with chronic liver disease
  • people with some neurological conditions including stroke and dementia
  • people with some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments
  • people with other primary or acquired immunodeficiency, including HIV
  • people with poorly controlled blood pressure

Phase 2a – up to 15.8m doses 

  • Adults aged 60 to 69 years (2,650,000)
  • Adults aged 50-59 years (3,080,000)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54 (387,000)
  • Other critical and high risk workers (453,000)

Phase 2b – up to 16m doses 

  • Balance of adult population (6,643,000)
  • Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases

Phase 3 – up to 13.6m doses 

  • < 18 if recommended (5,670,000)

If you are interested in more detail about potential vaccines, the NCIRS has a dedicated page here. See also the DOH website.