A range of information resources are provided here to support GPs as they vaccinate patients and prepare to care for COVID-19 patients in the community.
RACGP updated home-care guidelines:
On 17 November 2021, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) released new home-care guidelines for patients with COVID-19. These updated guidelines include information and advice on the following:
Supporting patients through a COVID-19 diagnosis
Determining medical and social risk factors and disease severity
Determining home-care suitability and the appropriate monitoring protocol
Escalating care where necessary
Department of Health resources:
The Department of Health has published several collections of resources about COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine rollout, and clinical guidance from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). These resources are updated when new information is available, so GPs should ensure they have access to the latest versions.
Booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
A COVID-19 booster dose is now recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for people who:
are 18 years and older, and
have had their second dose of their primary dose course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 6 months ago.
Booster doses are not mandatory, but are recommended to maintain immunity against COVID-19.
ATAGI is not currently recommending booster doses for:
people aged 12 to 17 years OR
people who are severely immunocompromised and have already had a third dose.
Read ATAGI’s advice on COVID-19 booster doses.
Resources for third doses for the immunocompromised
On 8 October 2021, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released advice recommending a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of the primary course in individuals who are severely immunocompromised. These resources will assist GPs with patients requiring a third dose:
Requirements for workers in health care settings who are exposed to COVID-19
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), with advice from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG), has endorsed a Worker Permissions and Restrictions Framework for Workers in Health Care Settings.
The framework outlines nationally agreed recommendations that will support safe decision making when determining appropriate workplace restrictions and permissions for a worker exposed to COVID-19. The framework provides guidance on how GPs and practice staff can avoid having to isolate after a patient who attended the practice later tests positive to COVID-19.
Vaccine product information
ATAGI and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) have released joint guidance on the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following Pfizer vaccination following an observed risk in overseas studies, especially in males under 30 years of age after the second doses. The Pfizer Product Information has been updated to reflect this.
The Product Information (PI) for the AstraZeneca vaccine has been updated to include Capillary Leak Syndrome (CLS) as a contraindication for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Providers should be aware of the information contained in the PI and individuals with a known history of CLS should not be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
Patient information sheets
Frequently asked questions on the Taskforce Ivermectin recommendation: https://covid19evidence.net.au/wp-content/uploads/NC19CET-Ivermectin-FAQs-20210826.pdf
Clinical guidance and decision guides
COVID-19 vaccine – Clinical considerations: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/information-for-covid-19-vaccination-providers/covid-19-vaccine-clinical-considerations
Selection of second dose in specific circumstances: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-clinical-advice-on-the-use-of-a-different-covid-19-vaccine-as-the-second-dose