COVID-19 Vaccinations

CURRENT UPDATE

10.00am, Wednesday 13th January

Double Bay Doctors is committed to providing patients with relevant and up-to-date information regarding the release of COVID-19 vaccines.

Currently, we are unable to confirm when the first vaccine will be available to our patients, however based on current information from the government, we anticipate we will have access to vaccines around March 2021.

We will continue to update our website regularly. We encourage you to register your interest to receive email updates about the administration of the vaccines.

Coming soon - Register your Interest to Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine

We want to ensure that any Double Bay Doctors patient who wishes to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to access the vaccine through us. In order to determine how many of our patients intend to receive the COVID 19 vaccine, we will soon be asking you to register your interest. 

By registering your interest you will assist us in securing enough vaccine stock to meet community demand. You will also be the first to know when we receive the vaccines, and when you can book an appointment to have the vaccine administered. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations Secured by Australia

Subject to approval by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, the vaccine is currently due to commence administration in mid-late February 2021 using a phase approach.

Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine

Doses secured by Australia: 10 million available from early 2021 (has the ability to vaccinate 5 million people)

Dosage: 2 doses, three weeks apart

Efficacy: 95%

Storage: For long-term storage (approx. 6 months) the vaccine must be kept at -70°C, which requires specialist cooling equipment.

Type of Vaccine: mRNA. With mRNA vaccines, no antigens are involved. Instead, they contain a blueprint for the antigen in the form of mRNA, giving our immune system a preview of what the real virus looks like without causing disease.

 

The University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine

Doses secured by Australia: 3.8 million available from early 2021. If successful, Australia will be able to manufacture 50 million doses from 2021. 

Dosage: 2 doses, likely one month apart.

Efficacy: 90%

Storage: The vaccine can be stored between 2°C and 8°C. 

Type of Vaccine: A spike protein gene delivered via a harmless adenovirus vector (i.e. not mRNA).

 

Early trials suggest the vaccine may prevent asymptomatic infection, however more research is required before this can be verified.  

Novavax vaccine

Doses secured by Australia: 51 million available from early 2021 if proven to be safe and effective.

Dosage: 2 doses.

Efficacy: Yet to be determined, with phase 3 clinical trials underway in the UK.

Who Will Get the Vaccine First? Proposed Phase Roll-out:

When vaccines become available, supply will initially be limited and directed towards priority groups for vaccination. Whilst the details for this are not concrete, the rollout is likely to be separated into phases:

 

PHASE 1A: up to 1.4 million doses

  • Quarantine & border workers

  • Frontline workers

  • Aged care & disability care staff

  • Aged care & disability care residents

 

PHASE 1B: up to 14.8 million doses

  • Elderly adults aged 80 years & over

  • Elderly adults aged 70-79 years

  • Other healthcare workers

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people >55 years

  • Younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability

  • Critical & high-risk workers including defense, police, fire, emergency services

 

PHASE 2A: up to 15.8 million doses

  • Adults aged 60-69 years

  • Adults aged 50-59 years

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54

  • Other critical high-risk workers

PHASE 2B: up to 16 million doses

  • Balance of adult population

PHASE 3: up to 13.6 million doses

  • < 18-year old's, if recommended

Logistically, it will take some time to vaccinate everyone. Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws estimated it would be around 170 000 vaccines per day, for 240 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the vaccine be free for everyone?

 

According to the RACGP, the COVID-19 vaccination will be free for:

  • All Medicare-eligible Australians

  • All visa-holders, excluding visa sub-classes 771 (Transit), 600 (Tourist stream), 651 (eVisitor) and 601 (Electronic Travel Authority).

2. Is the vaccine mandatory?

While the Australian Government strongly supports immunisation, it is not mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate.

 

3. The vaccine was developed so quickly. How do I know it's safe?

COVID-19 vaccines have been through the same phases as any other clinical trial that may take years to develop. What actually makes vaccine trials and manufacturing so lengthy is the processes of getting funding, ethics approval, doing pre-clinical studies, and recruiting volunteers.

The reason this vaccine has come about so efficiently comes down to access to unlimited funding, highly motivated and clever people from all across the globe working towards a shared goal, and tens of thousands of altruistic volunteers willing to participate in the studies.

4. What do we know about the general side effects associated with the vaccine?

Throughout clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was generally well-tolerated. The worst recorded side effects were fatigue and headaches after the second dose. Around 4% of people reported fatigue, and 2% reported a headache.

Other side effects included pain at the injection site and muscle aches – both common general vaccine side effects.

Since the vaccine was rolled out in the UK, there have been two reports of people with a history of allergies who have had serious adverse reactions to the vaccine. These are currently under investigation.

References:

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

Australian Government: Department of Health

SBS News

via Dr Ali Hodgkinson