Updates to the COVID-19 Vaccine rollout

7 Oct 2021

GPs will be interested in the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccination program.

mRNA vaccines 

As of 1 October 2021 people aged 60 and over will be able to access any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines, at all vaccination sites, regardless of where they live.

This means:

1.      people aged 18+ can access any COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)); and

2.      people aged 12+ can access the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. 

Individuals who have had one dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects should have the second dose of AstraZeneca to gain full protection. They should not attempt to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose.

Vaccinating patients who have contracted COVID-19

ATAGI advises that past infection is not a contraindication to vaccination and that people with a past COVID-19 infection should receive a standard 2-dose schedule of COVID-19 vaccine. In relation to timing of doses, ATAGI recommends that “vaccination can be deferred for up to six months after the acute illness in those who have had PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.” However, there is no requirement to delay vaccination. People with past COVID-19 infection can be vaccinated as long as they have recovered from acute illness. More information is available here.

Expiring AstraZeneca doses

Practices are reporting that they have excess AstraZeneca vaccines that are due to expire, and there is little or no demand for its use.  In the first instance, practices are encouraged to use up as much vaccine as possible to minimise wastage, this could occur through dedicated vaccination clinics or blitzes with local businesses.

If you still have excess vaccines, you should contact your PHN for assistance to identify another clinic in your region who may want the excess stock. The Taskforce may be able to redirect any large amounts of expiring stock, based on the amount available and the expiry dates. More details will be provided on this process.

Please make sure any expired stock (over 5 vials) is reported within CVAS via the Stock Wastage Report.