Vaccine Rollout FAQs

Vaccine Rollout Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This webpage is reviewed weekly to provide up-to-date information on frequently asked questions relating to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Urgent enquiries

If you have an urgent enquiry please call Murray PHN t: 03 4408 5600

Join the rollout

Are EOIs still being accepted for general practices to administer COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. EOIs can be submitted at any time to covax@murrayphn.org.au and no closure date has been set.

Who is eligible

Who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination?

People aged 5 and over are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination is also recommended for children aged 6 months to under 5 years with severe immunocompromise, disability, and those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19. Clinical guidance is located here and this A3 poster outlines COVID-19 vaccines in Australia.

How can people access a COVID-19 vaccine without a Medicare card?

People without a Medicare card can access a free COVID-19 vaccine via a participating general practice respiratory clinic or a community pharmacy.  GPs will not be able to claim through the MBS for individuals without a Medicare (or DVA) card and cannot charge individuals for a COVID-19 vaccine service. Information for patients here.

Can I vaccinate someone who has a COVID-19 infection?

All people should wait 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection before they receive their next vaccine dose. More information here

A temporary medical exemption from COVID vaccination can be provided for people with a confirmed (by PCR or RAT test) COVID infection for up to 4 months -  ATAGI guidance

How do I provide proof of medical exemption?

Only the AIR Medical Exemption form can be used to provide people with proof of medical exemption to any vaccine requirements in Victoria.

See medical exemption to COVID-19 vaccination guidance

Additional doses

Who is approved for a Winter dose?

ATAGI have recommended an additional ‘winter’ dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the following population groups:

  • people aged 50 to 64 years
  • people aged 16 to 64 years who have complex, chronic or severe conditions that are considered to be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • People aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older

Other people aged 30 to 49 years can elect to receive a winter dose, however the benefit is less certain. The recommended interval between first booster or COVID-19 infection and winter doses is now three months.

Who is approved for third doses and boosters?

ATAGI have recommended a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for:

  • people who are aged 16 years and over who completed their primary vaccination course (dose 2) at least three months ago.
  • adolescents aged 12-15 who are severely immunocompromised, have a disability with significant or complex health needs, have complex conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19

Which vaccine is used as a booster?

Both Moderna bivalent and Pfizer are preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine for a booster dose. Only Pfizer is approved for people aged 12 to 17.

Although not preferred, people who cannot receive Pfizer or Moderna can be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine as a booster i.e. if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have a contraindication to mRNA vaccines.
  • Experienced a severe AEFI to an mRNA vaccine in their primary course e.g. myocarditis.
  • Completed AstraZeneca for their primary course and did not experience a significant AEFI

The decision to receive a third dose of AstraZeneca must be made in consultation with a medical professional.

Can Novavax be used as a booster?

ATAGI has recommended the use of the Novavax vaccine as a booster in Australians aged 18 and over where an mRNA vaccine is not suitable. For more information, see the latest ATAGI updates here.

Does an immunocompromised person who has had a third dose require a booster?

Immunocompromised individuals over 16 years old who have completed a three-dose primary course are also recommended to have a booster (4th) dose from a minimum of 3 months after their third dose.

Do severely immunocompromised children (5-15 yrs) require a booster?

ATAGI recommends that severely immunocompromised individuals aged 5 years and over require a 3rd primary dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from 2 months (and no later than 6 months) after dose 2 to remain up-to-date - latest ATAGI advice.

How are appointments for booster and winter doses funded through MBS?

Boosters and winter doses can be funded through the existing dose 2 MBS item (items 93644, 93645, 93646, 93647, 93653, 93654, 93655 and 93656 or equivalent for Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics), which allows for ‘second or subsequent COVID-19 Vaccine Suitability Assessments’.

Is there extra funding for general practices to provide additional doses?

Further information can be found further down this page under 'Priority Groups'.

 

Running COVAX Clinics

What is the recommended observation time following COVID-19 vaccination?

  • ATAGI recommends that individuals who receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of vaccine brand and dose number, should be observed for at least 15 minutes following vaccine administration at the clinic site, in accordance with the current recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  • Some people with specific allergies as specified in the precautions section of the current ATAGI Clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers will require observation for at least 30 minutes following administration of a COVID-19 vaccine dose.

What if we aren't accepting new patients?

A new patient who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine should not be refused a vaccination appointment if there is one available.

How can we help our patients show proof of vaccination if they don't have access to a printer or internet?

People who are not able to access proof of COVID vaccination online through MyGov are able to call the Australian Immunisation Register and request to have this posted to them. Phone 1800 653 809 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm). The document may take up to 14 days to arrive.

Vaccine providers can print a person’s immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate from AIR as proof of immunisation. To download:

  1. Expand the Immunisation Details section once you have found the individual
  2. Select Generate Immunisation History Statement or Generate Immunisation Certificate(s) and print.

My general practice would like to update the contact details published on the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.

Use the VCF Connect platform to update your clinic details in real time. Login via your PRODA account.

My general practice would like to withdraw from the roll-out.

If you wish to have a break from ordering and vaccinating, you don’t need to fully withdraw from the Program. You can remain in the program and recommence administering any time.
Please do not call the Vaccine Operations Centre to withdraw.

Prior to notifying covax@murrayphn.org.au follow these steps:

  • cancel any orders in progress either in CVAS if 'submitted' or by calling the VOC if 'In Progress'
  • ensure you have no stock on hand by administering or transferring remaining doses, or report remaining doses as wastage
  • complete final stock management report

More information is available in this factsheet.

My general practice would like to recommence COVID-19 vaccinations

Let Murray PHN know at covax@murrayphn.org.au which vaccines you wish to administer. We will inform the Taskforce to reactivate your practice.

Once advised that reactivation is confirmed, update Vaccine Clinic Finder Connect to show your changed status through your VCF Connect portal.

How do I access an interpreter?

The National Coronavirus Helpline (NCH) guarantees free interpreter assistance for multilingual callers. People with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have free access to COVID-19 information and support to find a vaccine appointment via 1800 020 080.

Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC)

Phone 1800 318 208

Opening hours

Day AEST
Monday - Friday 8.30am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 3pm
Sunday Closed

Contact VOC for assistance with the following:

My cohort and/or site codes are not being accepted by the system.

My general practice has a query about a vaccine order / delivery date / vaccine stock management

My general practice would like to update its delivery details

 

Excess vaccine stock

Can we increase or decrease our dose allocation?

You can request a change to your allocation by contacting us at covax@murrayphn.org.au. We will submit your request to the Primary Care Vaccine Policy Team.

Can we order additional doses without changing our allocation?

Yes. You can submit a request in CVAS.

Can we give excess doses to another vaccination site?

Yes. General practices, respiratory clinics, pharmacies and ACCHOs may choose to transfer vaccines from one participating/approved vaccination site to another for a range of reasons, including:

  • to support unmet demand at another site,
  • an oversupply of vaccine stock on hand, or
  • unused stock following withdrawal from the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Primary care COVID-19 vaccine providers  can transfer excess vaccine stock to another participating/approved site, as long as both sites agree to the transfer, cold chain integrity is maintained and the transfer is recorded in CVAS.

Contact practices in your geographic area first to see if a transfer can be made locally. Refer to the list of primary care COVID-19 vaccine providers on the Murray PHN COVAX webpage to locate a site for the transfer – vaccination clinics by region. Email covax@murrayphn.org.au if assistance is required.

For advice on cold chain management and use of coolers/eskys, see National vaccine storage guidelines resource collection "Strive for Five" - Australian Government

Do I have to report expired doses?

Yes. In the event that your doses have expired, please:

  • Refer to the COVID-19 Vaccination Training which provides details on how to dispose of vaccines, and;
  • Report wastage of 10 vials or more via a 'major wastage' report through CVAS within 2 hours of the incident
  • Report wastage of less than 10 vials in your Vaccine Stock Management Report

Other enquiries might be addressed in Murray HealthPathways COVID-19 pathways

 

Priority Groups

People with Disability

How can Disability service providers get help to engage a local primary care provider for in-reach services to people with disability living in residential accommodation?

  • Disability service providers may contact Murray PHN by emailing covax@murrayphn.org.au to request support to engage a local primary care provider that can provide in-reach services.
  • Where no local or primary care options can be found, or where this is still the most appropriate vaccination service, disability service providers may submit an expression of interest to the Department of Health for Commonwealth in-reach support. Disability service providers should submit the form, or the PHN can submit the form on their behalf.
  • Once approved, a Vaccine Administration Provider Program (VAPP) provider will be allocated to support the disability service provider or individual with their vaccination needs.
  • More information on the winter dose, vaccination options and the in-reach program for people with disability is available on the Department of Health’s website.
  • Enquiries can also be sent to DisabilityCovidVaccineDelivery@health.gov.au

Is there support available for homebound individuals?

  • Vulnerable people who are unable to leave home may include individuals:
    • with an injury, chronic health issue or frailty affecting mobility
    • with moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability (this could include people with a social anxiety who cannot leave their home)
    • with moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues not otherwise classified as a psychosocial disability
    • who reside in a single, in-dwelling setting and are confined to the home
  • To seek support in accessing COVID-19 and influenza vaccines for homebound individuals, complete this referral form.
  • For further information, contact covax@murrayphn.org.au
    • We can either engage the services of a local primary care vaccine provider or apply to the Commonwealth for a VAPP provider to be allocated.

What support is available to increase accessibility of my practice for people with disability to access COVID-19 vaccination?

General practices can access support and resources from Disability Liaison Officers to enable people with disability to access COVID-19 vaccination at their practice. For more information see our Running covax clinics webpage.

In-reach and off-site clinics

Our general practice is already vaccinating and would like to explore opportunities for in-reach clinics at local residential aged care or disability residential facilities.

The PIP incentive payment for general practices providing in-reach COVID-19 vaccinations for residential aged care and disability support staff has been extended to 31 December 2022. It has also been expanded to include aged and disability care residents.

  • A $1,000 payment once a minimum threshold of 50 COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessments (including vaccine administration where appropriate) have been provided to residential aged care or disability support workers (cumulative) through in-reach clinics.
  • $20 for every vaccine suitability assessment provided to a residential aged care or disability support worker thereafter.
  • $20 for every vaccine suitability assessment provided to aged care or disability accommodation residents through an in-reach clinic that occurs from 1 November 2021  after the initial 50 worker threshold has been reached
  • These payments are available to vaccination providers in addition to the per patient fees payable in line with existing funding arrangements.

MBS ‘remote supervision’ items 93600 and 93661 will be available from 1 January 2022 to improve access to vaccines and booster shots for those unable to attend a vaccination site. The new items will allow an appropriately qualified health professional (such as a nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker) to conduct a COVID-19 Vaccine Suitability Assessment on behalf of a General Practitioner (GP) or Other Medical Practitioner (OMP) in a person’s place of residence without a GP being present.

MBS item 90005 provides a “flag-fall” fee for medical practitioners to conduct a COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment service in a residential aged care facility, a residential disability facility setting or at a patient’s place of residence (see MBS factsheet).

Both the facilities requesting in-reach clinics and the primary care provider willing to deliver the vaccination clinics must engage with the local PHN before and after any in-reach clinic to report:
o the planned date of in-reach vaccination clinic
o confirmation the clinic was delivered, and
o the number of staff and residents vaccinated

To be eligible to receive incentive payments, general practices and CVCs must complete two reports:

  1. Through CVAS on the In-reach Vaccination Reporting page.
  2. Complete a Clinic Summary Report, have a facility representative sign it and send to covax@murrayphn.org.au

Our practice would like to run an off-site clinic

Off-site and pop-up clinics are supported. Please review the clinical guidance for off-site vaccination clinics and email covax@murrayphn.org.au if you have any questions.

 

General non-urgent enquiries
Email covax@murrayphn.org.au

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Page last updated 26 October 2022