Top 3 COVID-19 vaccine questions ⁠–⁠ Vaccine rollout Phase 1b, vaccine appointments and what to bring

In this video Dr Nick Coatsworth, infectious disease specialist, answers the top 3 questions you’ve been asking on our social accounts.


Good morning, everybody its Dr Nick Coatsworth here and Linda and I are here today to talk to you about today's top three.

My shout out today of course is to all the general practitioners the nurses and the practice managers and secretaries who have come on board this week with phase 1b of our vaccination campaign and just remember that this is the largest logistical exercise that Australian public health systems have ever had to cope with and when you're calling for your vaccine and when you're in touch with your general practice keep in mind in particular that the practice managers and the secretaries at the front of house are doing their best to get you vaccinated as quick as possible. Be patient with them and we will get through phase 1b and the more practice we get at this, of course, the faster it's going to be for everyone. So patience is what's required and you know I was very excited to hear this week that my father-in-law was able to get an appointment at one of the GP respiratory clinics down in Tuggeranong. So this is just a very exciting time for Australia

First question, how do I prove that I'm eligible for phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout? Now I'm going to actually be very specific about this because it's an important question and so I may well read off my prompt notes here. If you are eligible in phase 1b because of your occupation you can prove your eligibility with one of the following either your employee identification card or a letter from your employer. If you don't have these you can get an on fill out an eligibility declaration form on the Department of Health's website and then take this with you to your vaccination appointment. If you're eligible in phase 1b because of your age or an underlying medical condition and you go to your usual GP for your vaccine then your clinic's records will have your medical history and details of your health conditions. These records will confirm that you're eligible under phase 1b of the COVID vaccine rollout.

There are some other ways you can prove your eligibility so we'll go through those now. If for instance you're going to a commonwealth GP led vaccination clinic or a state or territory vaccination clinic. That's what's happening with my father-in-law in a different state from which he resides. You can use your my health record, you can get a referral from your actual personal GP, or treating specialist, you can get a printout of your medical, history from your clinical records, a printout of your chronic disease care plan, a discharge summary from a hospital, or other medical facility, or a valid prescription, or medication prescribed to treat one or more of your medical conditions. So, there are a variety of things you can do to prove that you're eligible because of one of the chronic diseases that you may have. Now, when none of these are available don't worry you can still fill out that eligibility declaration form and take it with you. If you'd like to speak to someone and talk through your particular circumstances or someone you care for then please call the national coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccination helpline on 1800 020 080. They won't be able to make the booking for you of course but they will be able to answer your questions about when and where you can get your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Second question, should I avoid being vaccinated if I feel unwell? Well look that's an important and a very good question and of course we're going into the change of season now where there will be more of the other respiratory viruses circulating around our community. So you shouldn't attend your COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you're unwell with fever, cough, a runny nose, or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses if you're awaiting COVID-19 test results. Obviously if you've tested positive to COVID-19 and you're in isolation don't attend your vaccine appointment. If you're in quarantine or you're close contact or someone with COVID-19. If you're in any of those categories do remember to reschedule your appointment because remember there's a very big queue of people behind you and there will be someone who can take that appointment for you.





And finally, what do I need to do before I receive my COVID-19 vaccine? Well, before you attend your appointment it's important to make sure that your details are fully up to date with Medicare. You can do this a couple of ways. You can do it using your Medicare online account through MyGov. You can use the Express Medicare Plus App or you can actually call Medicare on 132 011.

COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to everyone living in Australia. So, if you don't have a Medicare card, don't worry, you just need to attend a GP led respiratory clinic or state or territory vaccination clinic.

So, what should you bring to your COVID-19 vaccination appointment? A photo ID if you have one, a Medicare card if you have one, your employee ID if you're getting a COVID-19 vaccine because of your occupation. Information about any of your medical conditions, allergies, bleeding disorders, or if you have a weakened immune system. Information about any medications that you're taking. Information about any previous COVID-19 vaccine received and that's important because we have to give you the same vaccine if you have Pfizer first you need Pfizer second get Astra first you need Astra second. Bring some information if you have it on any previous reactions you've had to vaccines or be prepared to tell the nurses. If you're attending a COVID-19 vaccination clinic that's not your usual GP make sure you bring the name of your current GP and any specialist that you see and if required by your state or territory don't forget to wear your face mask.

At your appointment you'll be able to discuss any questions you have about COVID-19 vaccinations with your immunization provider. You'll have to stay for some time after your appointment 15 minutes or potentially 30 minutes if you have a history of severe allergy like anaphylaxis just to make sure you're okay and remember that risk of anaphylaxis with this vaccine is around about one in one million and remember after your vaccine vaccination it's still important that you continue to practice good hygiene, practice physical distancing, follow the limits for public health gatherings, and understand how to isolate if you need to. This vaccination program's part of a multi-layered approach to combat COVID-19 in Australia something that we've been so successful at, so far, but as you can imagine this really is the key now. It almost makes last year look like peanuts in terms of its complexity. There's a lot of people working very hard in this Department, in the Department of Health, but also in GP respiratory clinics, GP practices, around Australia.

Just to reiterate that last message. Be patient, particularly with the person on the end of the phone with you they're trying to get you an appointment as quick as you possibly can. Good luck, I hope that information is useful. So, you don't have to rewind it's all there on have a great weekend.

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Dr Nick Coatsworth, infectious disease specialist, answers the top 3 questions you’ve been asking on our social accounts:

  1. How do I prove that I am eligible for Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?
  2. Should I avoid being vaccinated if I feel unwell?
  3. What do I need to do before I receive my COVID-19 vaccine?
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