More general practices to offer COVID-19 vaccinations

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More general practices to administer COVID-19 vaccines from 21 June with an additional 22 general practices in SE NSW.

More general practices will be able to administer COVID vaccines from 21 June, with an additional 22 general practices in South Eastern NSW accredited as Astra Zeneca vaccine providers by 28 June.

According to Dr Anoop Jalota, General Practitioner at Warrawong Accident and Medical Centre, demand for vaccines has increased since the reports of COVID-19 in Victoria and more than 50,000 doses a week are now available across the South Eastern NSW region.

“We are currently administering between 75 and 100 vaccines a week and have a waitlist of people wanting to get vaccinated. It is good news that more general practices are taking part in the vaccination rollout. General practices are well placed to tailor advice according to an individual’s situation. A patient’s GP knows them and their medical history,” said Dr Jalota.

“As people aged 40 to 59 are now eligible to book an appointment for the Pfizer vaccine, our general practice has expressed interest in administering that vaccine as well. Pfizer will be available from some general practices in our region in July,” said Dr Jalota.

“I strongly recommend that people under the age of 60 years who have already received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and who did not experience any serious side effects, should keep their appointment and receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine," he said.

Dr Jalota said the risk of blood clots linked to AstraZeneca is exceptionally low and this extremely rare complication of the vaccine happens in very few people. Currently, the risk in Australia is less than two per 100,000 people who get the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has assured that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for people who are over the age of 60 years.

"If you are aged 60 or older, you can book an appointment with your GP to access the vaccine that is available now. I would caution against waiting for other vaccines, as those vaccines may be intended for the younger population or for those who have a specific contraindication to taking the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Dr Jalota said.

"COVID vaccinations are free, and if you have any concerns about your individual circumstances, I recommend making time with your usual GP to discuss these," Dr Jalota said.

“During the winter months, it is particularly important that we practise good hygiene, social distancing and wear masks when appropriate to limit the spread of COVID as well as common colds and flu. Seasonal influenza can lower a person's immunity and make them susceptible to other illnesses. I would recommend getting the flu vaccine as well as the COVID vaccine as you can receive the two vaccines seven days apart,” Dr Jalota said.

To find the closest vaccination site, you can use the vaccine eligibility tracker on the Department of Health’s website. Eligible groups include people aged 40 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years and over, NDIS participants and their carers aged 16 years and over as well as some temporary visa holders.

If you have questions about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or need help with the COVIDSafe app, call the COVID-19 vaccination helpline on 1800 020 080.

To check to see if you can book a COVID-19 vaccination click here.