Open Access
Feature Article

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program

Open Access
Feature Article

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program

Gemma Reynolds, Janine M. Trevillyan

Figures

© alphaspirit.it/shutterstock
© alphaspirit.it/shutterstock
Dr Reynolds is an Infectious Diseases Advanced Trainee in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Austin Health, Melbourne. Dr Trevillyan is Head of Clinical Virology and HIV Services, Department of Infectious Diseases, Austin Health; and Lead in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program for the Austin Hub, Melbourne, Vic.

If required, antipyretics and analgesics can be taken after vaccination for management of vaccine-related side effects such as fever and myalgia. Clinicians should be alert for ‘red flag’ features of CVST or other thrombosis, including any new, severe, persistent headache or other significant symptoms such as severe abdominal pain with onset four to 20 days after administration of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.23 For any COVID-19 vaccine, as for all vaccines, they should be alert for any persistent, unexpected or severe adverse event after vaccination.

National data collection is important for ensuring fair vaccine delivery and for monitoring adverse events. Practitioners administering vaccines will be responsible for entering data into the Australian Immunisation Register, as well as for reporting adverse events. 

Useful information during the roll-out 

The vaccine roll-out is an emerging space. Up-to-date information will be provided by government health websites. We encourage readers to visit the state or territory and federal COVID-19 websites frequently for the most accurate information (Box 2). Other resources for GPs on Australia’s vaccination program are listed in Box 3.

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Conclusion

Australia has agreements to purchase three of the more than 200 COVID-19 vaccines currently in development. At the time of writing, the vaccination program is rolling out two of these, the Pfizer and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. These vaccines are expected to be safe for most Australians and to offer good protection against current virus strains. GPs can make an important contribution to the vaccine roll-out process through administering vaccines and monitoring patients. The COVID-19 vaccine space is changing rapidly, and the most up-to-date information will be available through the resources listed above.    RMT

 

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COMPETING INTERESTS: Dr Trevillyan has received speaker fees from Gilead Health Sciences unrelated to this project. Dr Reynolds: None.