COVID-19 vaccines

Information for COVID-19 vaccine providers in our region. 

Page last updated: 2:00pm, 23 April 2021

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine national rollout strategy outlines sites and priority populations for initial vaccinations, and the phases in which vaccine doses will be made available.

How to stay up to date

The Australian Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine website hub contains information for general practices, GP-led Respiratory Clinics, Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services and community pharmacies. It includes information on:

We are communicating as much information about the rollout as quickly as we can to residential aged care facilities, general practices, pharmacies and other primary care providers in our region.

You can read our latest e-bulletins on our website. If you’re not receiving these email updates, please subscribe or contact primarycare@nwmphn.org.au

We recommend also subscribing to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccines newsletter to stay up to date.

Role of Primary Health Networks during the rollout

  • Our role in aged care

    Primary Health Networks are the primary contact point for residential aged care facilities (RACFs) during the COVID-19 vaccines rollout. Aged care residents and staff are eligible to be vaccinated from Phase 1A of the rollout.

    Our role is facilitating communications between:

    • RACFs
    • the vaccination workforce provider (Aspen Medical)
    • local hospitals, including in-reach services
    • GPs and other local health providers
    • state and federal health authorities.

    It is critical that we can contact all RACFs in our region quickly to help solve any issues that may arise during the delivery and administration of vaccines.

    As per the Australian Department of Health’s clinical governance requirements, each RACF must establish a Clinical Lead (for example: a registered nurse) who is responsible for managing the vaccine program at the site. This Clinical Lead is responsible for liaising with their local Primary Health Network (us) and the immunisation provider.

    If your facility has not already done so, please designate a Clinical Lead and have them contact Jesse Osowicki by email to jesse.osowicki@nwmphn.org.au

    More information for aged care providers is available on this page and our COVID-19 Support for Aged Care page.

  • Our role in primary care

    Primary Health Networks play a lead role in supporting general practices and other primary care providers to join the COVID-19 vaccines rollout.

    More than 300 practices in our region are eligible to administer COVID-19 vaccines from Phase 1B of the rollout. Community pharmacies will join the rollout from Phase 2A. There may be future possibilities for more general practices and primary care providers to join the rollout at later stages.

    Our primary role is to assist general practices to join the rollout, and to provide a regional point of contact between practices and the Australian Department of Health. We also facilitate communications between practices and the Victorian Department of Health, local hospitals and other local health providers as required.

    It is critical that we can communicate quickly with all general practices in our region to help solve any issues that may arise during the delivery and administration of vaccines. Each practice should have a designated contact person. Our Primary Health Care Improvement team is in regular contact with this person by phone and email.

    We are also sending regular enewsletters to general practices, pharmacies and other primary care providers during the rollout. You can subscribe and read previous editions on our website.

    If you have any questions about the support we can provide for primary care please contact primarycare@nwmphn.org.au or call 03 9347 1188.

Latest news

  • High-volume vaccination centres now open to the public

    People who are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now book an appointment at a high-volume vaccination centre in Victoria. This includes the general public and health care workers.

    Visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au for more information on these centres including bookings, walk-ins and wait times.

    Walk-ins are allowed at the high-volume vaccination centres although you are encouraged to book ahead by calling 1800 675 398 (select Option 3 – Option 2 – Option 2).

    The Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine for people under 50 and those eligible as part of phases 1a and 1b. People aged 50 and over will be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine. There are limited exceptions. State-run vaccination centres are following the Victorian Government advice for priority access to Pfizer vaccines.

  • ATAGI statement on AstraZeneca vaccine in response to new vaccine safety concerns

    9 April 2021

    The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released a statement on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in response to new vaccine safety concerns.

    All vaccine providers have also been sent further guidance from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly that relates to the latest ATAGI advice, plus a script to assist communication with patients. If your clinic has not received this guidance, please contact primarycare@nwmphn.org.au or call 03 9347 1188.

    Summary of the ATAGI advice

    • ATAGI notes further evidence of a rare but serious side effect involving thrombosis (clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) following receipt of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca
    • ATAGI recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer (Comirnaty) is preferred over COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in adults aged under 50 years. This recommendation is based on the increasing risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in older adults (and hence a higher benefit from vaccination) and a potentially increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 50 years.
    • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.
    • People who have had the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years.
    • Please refer to the full ATAGI statement for more information.
  • Disability care readiness toolkit now available

  • National booking system – Clinic Finder

    29 March 2021

    Listing your clinic on the online national COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Finder is mandatory for all practices participating in the vaccine rollout. However, practices are best placed to determine patient bookings based on priority groups and the capacity of the practice.

    • Practices do not have to have their online booking system connected if they don’t wish it to be.
    • Practices need to ensure that they have vaccine specific appointments available within their own systems for the online booking system to be correctly integrated with the Clinic Finder. If you have not set this up we recommend contacting your online booking provider to set this up.
    • Clinics are advised to send any change of their details on the Clinic Finder to North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network by email to primarycare@nwmphn.org.au – we are collating these change requests and sending to the Australian Department of Health.
  • Aged care readiness toolkit now available

    17 February 2021

    The Australian Department of Health has published a readiness toolkit for residential aged care facilities to help prepare for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and obtaining and recording consent for residents.

    A resource pack for residential aged care providers, workers, residents, carers and families relating to the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is also available.

COVID-19 and influenza vaccines

  • ATAGI advice: avoid co-administration of the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines

    Routine scheduling and giving of an influenza vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. The preferred minimum interval between vaccines is 14 days.

    More information is available from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.

COVID-19 vaccination training

  • Mandatory training for authorised immunisation providers

    16 February 2021

    National COVID-19 vaccine training modules for clinical and non-clinical staff involved in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines is now available on the Australian Department of Health website. Authorised immunisation providers must complete this training before administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

    The training is being provided free to all authorised COVID-19 vaccination providers. The first modules are targeting health professionals in hospitals who will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.

    Authorised immunisation providers in our region can complete the training now. However, they will be required to update their training once modules for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca, Novavax and potentially other vaccines are added.

    Supporting non-clinical and administrative workers are also required to complete this training. However, people in this group need only complete the three core non-clinical modules.

     

  • Training to assist mandatory reporting of vaccinations

    From 1 March 2021, all vaccine providers will be required to report influenza vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Reporting of all COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory once vaccinations begin in Australia. All other National Immunisation Program vaccinations must be reported on from 1 July 2021.

    This fact sheet provides information and advice about the importance of data quality when recording and transmitting vaccination encounters in practice software and on the Australian Immunisation Register.

    This Services Australia user guide provides more information on accessing AIR using Provider Digital Access (PRODA).

    Training

    Services Australia provides free AIR online training modules.

  • Other training recommended for practice teams

    The World Health Organization has developed a free, three-hour online training package: COVID-19 vaccination training for health workers. The package, developed in collaboration with UNICEF, consists of six modules, which include video lectures, quizzes, job aids, interactive exercises and downloadable presentations with the available information.

    The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy provides free online anaphylaxis training for health professionals.