Phase 1B General Practice Vaccine Rollout Update

27 May 2021

ATAGI/THANZ statement 

ATAGI released a joint statement with the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ) on Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) and the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. 

The statement reaffirms that for people aged 50 years and over, the expert medical advice is that the benefit of receiving the vaccination outweighs the risk of this rare but serious side-effect. 

GPs can also utilise the new COVID-19 resource – talking to patients about AstraZeneca vaccine – to support their conversations with patients on the risks and benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

TGA extension of Pfizer storage period 

As of Monday, 24 May, the TGA has extended the approved storage period of the unopened thawed Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine. 

This change now extends the storage period of an unopened thawed vial at 2-8°C (i.e., in a normal refrigerator after taking out of deep-freeze conditions) to up to one month (31 days). 

Increase to AstraZeneca dose allocations 

Further to the last increase to AstraZeneca doses for low and medium allocation primary care providers, those practices with high allocations and utilisation will now receive an increase. This dose increase will enable them to continue to provide first doses to patients, while ensuring sufficient supply to administer second doses. 

For these high allocation practices, this increase will commence immediately – with additional doses available to administer from week 15.  

In addition, low and medium allocation practices will receive an additional increased AstraZeneca allocation. This increase will target more than 800 small or medium general practices in locations where additional supply is required to meet the population demand. The boost in doses for these practices will be available to administer from week 16. 

Affected practices have received a letter notifying them of their allocation change. 

Transfer of AstraZeneca Vaccine stock between participating general practices 

Practices can now transport AstraZeneca vaccine stock between participating sites, as outlined by The National Vaccine Storage Guidelines. Transfers are the responsibility of the sites to manage (e.g., maintain cold-chain, etc.) and must be captured within the weekly Stock Management Report in CVAS (due 9pm Fridays). 

Vaccination sites are encouraged to reach out to their PHNs if they need assistance with the identifying locations to transfer stock to. 

Checking patient medical history 

The Department of Health has advised that some people have potentially received: 

  • more than two doses of COVID-19 vaccines 

  • doses of different vaccines, and 

  • the influenza vaccine within 14 days of a COVID-19 vaccine (on the same day, in some occasions). 

GPs should familiarise themselves with ATAGI’s advice on dosage intervals. ATAGI does not recommend routine scheduling and co-administration of an influenza vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day. The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine and a dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) or COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is 14 days. 

A patient’s immunisation history can be viewed through: 

  • the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) 

  • Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP), or 

  • My Health Record.