COVID-19 Vaccination information and resources for GPs

5 Aug 2021

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.

Information on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after Pfizer vaccine

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 observed 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, and a letter from Pfizer advising this change is attached for your information.

ATAGI and CSANZ emphasise that the overwhelming benefits of vaccination in protecting against COVID-19 greatly outweigh the rare risk of these conditions, and Pfizer continues to be recommended for all people = 16 years of age who do not have any contraindications to the vaccine, in those aged 12-15 with specific medical conditions that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12-15.

During the consent process, all people who receive Comirnaty should be advised of the very rare risk of myocarditis and/or pericarditis after vaccination, and should be advised of possible symptoms, which include:

  • chest pain, pressure or discomfort
  • palpitations (irregular heartbeat, skipped beats or ‘fluttering’).
  • syncope (fainting)
  • shortness of breath
  • pain with breathing.

Symptoms typically start within a few days after vaccination, and anyone experiencing symptoms should seek prompt medical attention.

You can find further information here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-guidance-on-myocarditis-and-pericarditis-after-mrna-covid-19-vaccines

Information on Capillary Leakage Syndrome after AstraZeneca

The Product Information for the AstraZeneca vaccine has been updated to include Capillary Leak Syndrome (CLS) as a contraindication for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

CLS is a rare disorder characterised by acute episodes of oedema mainly affecting the limbs, hypotension, haemoconcentration and hypoalbuminaemia. 

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. A number of documents, including the consent form, are currently being updated to reflect this change and will be shared.

Consent forms:

Patient information sheets:

Clinical guidance and decision guides:

Resources for doctors working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

  • Updated guidance on TGA advertising restrictions, explaining how you can inform your patients about different vaccine brands availability in your clinic. This includes social, posters and web content.
  • A video animation in plain English that could be sent to your patients’ emails or used in your clinic waiting room explaining what to expect on your vaccination day, side effects and the need for two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A suite of talking points designed for healthcare workers, to assist them with having conversations with patients about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Updated social resources with suggested captions to use across your social media networks

Existing resources

Members are also reminded that if you are part of the vaccine roll out and have any problems, the key point of contact in the Commonwealth to raise these is the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) that can be contacted on:

Phone: 1800 318 308

Email: COVID19VaccineOperationsCentre@health.gov.au

Note: The VOC hours of operation are between 7am to 10pm (AEST)