More than 1 in 3 Australians eligible for a third (booster) dose have not yet received it.
We are particularly concerned about older adults who have had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine but have not received a booster.
The Western Public Health Unit has supplied a set of key messages (.pdf) to support you in having conversations with patients. This document emphasises that:
- People who have had their third dose are almost 3 times less likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than those who have received only 2.
- A third dose provides specific benefits against the Omicron variant. It increases protection against death to 95 per cent, up from 60 per cent at 2 doses. It increases protection against hospitalisation by 90 per cent, up from over 55 per cent at 2 doses. And it boosts protection against infection and transmission, with protection increased by 50 per cent compared to 25 per cent at 2 doses.
Strategies for general practices to increase uptake of third doses
- Adopt the ‘every patient every time’ mantra to ask your patients if they are aware of third dose availability, discuss their importance, due date and how to access an appointment.
- Consider an email or SMS campaign to inform your patient base and make it easy for them to book an appointment.
- Put a poster in your clinic’s waiting room to remind patients about third doses. Posters and other resources are available on the Australian Department of Health website.
- Use Pen CAT to recall patients who are due for their third dose (if the dose was given at your practice – unfortunately Pen CAT won’t pick up vaccines given elsewhere). Register for our education session to learn more about using Pen CAT for COVID-19 vaccination.
- Ask parents bringing their children for routine vaccinations if they have had their third dose.
- Consider a more targeted recall campaign for patients who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, such as patients over 65 and/or patients with comorbidities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients or speakers of languages other than English. Tip: Contact your NWMPHN quality improvement program officer on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance to find these patients in your medical software.
QI activity template
Download our quality improvement (QI) activity template: Recall patients for a COVID-19 booster vaccination.
More QI activity templates are available on our website.