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AstraZeneca vaccine Phase 2A updated 17th May 2021

Who qualifies :

  • People aged 50 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16-49 years
  • Other critical and high risk workers

There have been changes to the advice around the COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is now preferred to the AstraZeneca vaccine for adults aged under 50 years. This recommendation is based on:

  • the higher risk that older people have of getting really sick from COVID-19
  • and the potentially higher risk of people under 50 years developing thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following AstraZeneca vaccine. This is a rare syndrome that involves blood clots.

ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) have clearly said that the AstraZeneca vaccine can still be used in adults under 50 years. This will be the case:

  • where the benefits of being vaccinated are higher than the risks of this rare condition,
  • and where the patient has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits (an informed consent).

Everyone who has already had their first AstraZeneca vaccine dose with no serious side effects can receive their second dose.

Common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine usually last a couple of days, such as feeling mildly sick, having a sore arm, headache or fever.

Advice for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromise)

People with immunocompromise includes those who have a medical condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system. People with immunocompromise, including those living with HIV, have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including a higher risk of severe illness and death.

The Australian Government strongly recommends people with immunocompromise receive a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca does not behave like a ‘live vaccine’. The adenovirus carrier has been modified so that it cannot replicate or spread to other cells, and it cannot cause infection. It is safe in people with immunocompromise.

What is this side effect that everyone is talking about associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

According to available data, symptoms of this rare syndrome usually came up between 4 to 20 days after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It usually appears as a headache that doesn’t go away with pain medication (like paracetamol or ibuprofen), vomiting, confusion and/or seizures.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • severe persistent headache
  • neurological symptoms (blurred vision, difficulty with speech, drowsiness, seizures)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • tiny blood spots under the skin away from the site of injection.

There is evidence of a likely link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia).

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

Yes. The individual benefit-to-risk balance of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine varies with age. This balance is based on factors including the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age and the potential lower risk of this very rare, but serious, adverse event with increasing age. ATAGI has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe to be given to people aged 50 years and over.

I have had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, what do I do now?

If you have had your first vaccine dose without this side effect or other serious adverse effects, you should receive your second dose booked in with us at 12 weeks.

What if I am worried about side effects?

If you have recently had your first vaccine dose and are experiencing any side effects that you are worried about, Please book an appointment to see your regular GP.

I’m booked in for my first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, what do I do?

If you are an adult aged over 50 years, you should only receive a first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine where the benefit of receiving the vaccine clearly outweighs the risk in your individual circumstance. You may wish to discuss your individual benefit-to-risk balance with your doctor.

Information about how to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available on the Department of Health website shortly.

For further information please contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 1800 020 080

https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/astrazeneca-and-pfizer-what-are-the-side-effects-f

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/learn-about-covid-19-vaccines/about-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine

Get to know our GP doctors:

At Familywise Medical Practice we provide a comprehensive range of services for your medical and healthcare needs. Bulk billing is available. Get to know our General Practitioners:


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Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Whooping cough outbreaks can occur in a community at any time of year but are more likely in autumn and winter during cold and flu season. To prevent any outbreak, it is important to be vaccinated – whooping cough vaccination.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms that include fever and long periods of coughing that sound like a ‘whoop’. Whooping cough can affect people of all ages but it is most serious in babies under the age of 12 months, particularly in the first few months.

Whooping cough symptoms include:

  • blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • raised temperature
  • uncontrolled bouts of coughing that sounds like a ‘whoop’ or are followed by a ‘whooping’ noise
  • vomiting after coughing.

Symptoms usually start about 7 to 10 days after catching whooping cough, with a cold, blocked or runny nose, coughing and a mild fever.

Whooping cough is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and you breathe it in. The bacteria infect the lining of the airways, mainly the windpipe (trachea) and the 2 airways that branch off from it to the lungs (the bronchi). There is a build-up of thick mucus. This mucus causes the intense bouts of coughing as the body tries to cough it up. The bacteria also cause the airways to swell up, making them narrower than usual. As a result, breathing is made difficult, which causes the ‘whoop’ sound as the person gasps for breath after a bout of coughing.

Whooping cough can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment includes antibiotics.

If you have close contact with someone who has whooping cough, your doctor may give you antibiotics to prevent you getting infected.

Whooping cough is a serious disease because it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage and sometimes death.

See your doctor as soon as possible if you think you or your child may have whooping cough.

Please refer to below links for more details:

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/whooping-cough-pertussis

https://www.healthline.com/health/pertussis

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/whooping-cough

Get to know our GP doctors:

At Familywise Medical Practice we provide a comprehensive range of services for your medical and healthcare needs. Bulk billing is available. Get to know our General Practitioners:


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05/05/2020 Health NewsNews

Preventative care

Preventative health care is important. Screening programs at your doctors are designed for people without any signs or symptoms. Therefore it is important to keep your doctors appointments for any health checks even when you feel healthy.

Why regular health checks are important

  • check for current or early warning signs
  • assess your risk of future medical issues
  • prompt you to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • update vaccinations.

Health checks for older people

As you get older, keeping an eye on your health becomes more important. Speak to your doctor about:

  • abdominal aortic aneurysm screening – former and current smokers (particularly older men) can consider having an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms, a blood-filled bulge in a major blood vessel in your abdomen called the aorta
  • blood pressure screening – every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often
  • bowel cancer screening – a simple test for signs of bowel cancer is recommended once every two years if you are over 50
  • cholesterol screening and heart disease prevention – every five years if levels are normal. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often
  • diabetes screening – every three years. If you are overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes, ask your doctor if you should be screened more often
  • lung cancer screening – for current smokers and those who have quit within the past 15 years
  • osteoporosis screening – if you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should check with your doctor about screening. Risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use or a family history of osteoporosis
  • a physical exam – every year or as recommended by your doctor. Your doctor will check and record your weight, height and body mass index (BMI).

Speak to your doctor about immunisation:

  • a pneumococcal vaccine – every 5 years
  • an annual flu shot
  • a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster every 10 years
  • a shingles or herpes zoster vaccine.

Health Checks with other health professionals may include:

  • Dental  – every 6 months
  • Eye test – yearly if you have vision problems or glaucoma risk
  • Hearing test – if you have symptoms of hearing loss.

Regular health checks for adults

Regular health checks can help to identify early warning signs of disease or illness. Heart disease, diabetes and some cancers can often be picked up in their early stages, with a more successful treatment plan.

When you have a check, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, your family’s history of disease and your lifestyle. Your diet, weight, how much you exercise, and whether or not you smoke and drink alcohol or take illegal drugs will also be discussed.

If you have high-risk factors, such as a family history of a condition, it may be more likely that you will develop a particular disease. Regular checks may help your doctor pick up early warning signs.

  • If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks at an earlier age.
  • Your GP may also recommend other tests based on your family history, your medical history or current symptoms. Depending on the results of those tests, your doctor may then want to provide a course of treatment, investigate further or refer you to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

Where to get help

Meet our GP doctors:

References:

Health checks by age: the tests you should be having https://www.hcf.com.au/health-agenda/health-care/treatments-and-procedures/health-checks-by-age-the-tests-you-should-be-having

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/regular-health-checks

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/manage-your-health-in-your-40s

https://www.racgp.org.au/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines/key-racgp-guidelines/view-all-racgp-guidelines/red-book/preventive-activities-in-middle-age


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12/04/2020 Health NewsNews
Image source from freepik

Flu Shot

Winter is coming….so is the flu. The vaccine prepares and boosts your immune system to help fight the flu but not the coronavirus if you are exposed to it. This will reduce your risk of influenza which kills hundreds of people.

Department of Health has recommended you get vaccinated prior to the peak of the flu season, which starts from mid-April to August.  The most effective way to protect yourself and your family is book in for an appointment with your GP for the flu shot.

To book in for flu shot please call us on 8604 2338 or book online: click here- Health Engine.

Why is the flu vaccine free for some people?

The  National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule has provided free flu for some groups of people who are considered at increased risk of complications :

  1. Pregnant Woman
  2. Chronic Disease (eg Asthma)
  3. Over 6 months of age
  4. 65 years and older
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over 6 months of age.

Signs and symptoms include:

This can go on for some weeks. Children may also have abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

If your symptoms get worse, see a doctor. You should seek help straight away if you feel chest pain, short of breath, dizzy or confused, or you are vomiting a lot. During this time it is important to take care of yourself by resting, keeping warm, drink lots of fluids and eat light non oily food when hungry.

References:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/blog/why-getting-your-flu-shot-in-april-2020-will-help-in-the-fight-against-covid-19

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/influenza-a-flu

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-immunisation-program

The Flu Vaccine, the_gp_mum

 

 


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