You can view our COVID-19 Vaccination Consent Form here.

Please note: This form is for your reference only. Please only complete it if we have asked you to do so, as it may change.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Will SPMC be providing the COVID-19 vaccine, and if so, when?

SPMC has been approved to provide the COVID-19 vaccine commencing the week of 5th April 2021.

Initially, the practice will only be provided with a small number of COVID vaccines per week.
Therefore, until government allocations increase the practice will be running small designated COVID clinics at specific times throughout the week.

 

How do I book to get my COVID-19 vaccine?

To check if you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, please refer to our FAQ below or use the Department of Health’s online eligibility checker.

If you are an existing patient of our practice and would like to discuss the COVID vaccine and/or your eligibility, please book an appointment with your doctor.

If you already know you would like to receive the COVID vaccine (AstraZeneca), and believe you are eligible please phone to book an appointment.

 

We will endeavour to communicate new and updated information to our patients and the wider community as quickly and effectively as possible:

  • when you visit the practice
  • via our website and social media sites (Instagram and Facebook)
  • when you contact us by phone

If you are under 60 years of age, it is recommended you receive the Pfizer vaccine. Currently, this is only available through Queensland Health. To register your interest and/or arrange a booking, please:

If you have questions, please contact our friendly reception staff on 07 3279 0444.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What does Phase 1(b) refer to and who will get the COVID vaccine first?

Australia’s national COVID vaccine rollout has been outlined to take place in three phases, with each phase having a stage (a) and (b) around 2-3 weeks apart.

Phase 1(a): quarantine and border workers, frontline at-risk health workers, residential aged care and disability staff, residential and disability care workers- available through hospital hubs in urban and rural areas

Phase 1(b): adults over 70, all other health workers (including GPs), ATSI people (55 years and over), carers and people in disability settings, younger adults with a medical condition, critical and high-risk workers such as police, fire and emergency service and meat processing workers – available through GP clinics

Phase 2(a): adults over 50, continuing on phase 1(b) with other high risk critical workers

Phase 2(b): balance of adult population and catch up of any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases

Phase 3: people under 18, if recommended

Why should I have the COVID-19 vaccine?

While it will not be mandatory to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it is worth considering the following benefits of COVID vaccination and vaccinations in general:

  • Vaccines have been proven to save lives (e.g. smallpox killed more than 300 million people during the 20th century before eradication due to vaccine development)
  • COVID vaccination may save your life, particularly if you fall into a high risk category
  • Rapidly developing evidence suggests that COVID vaccines will significantly reduce your risk of severe COVID infection, complications, hospitalisation and death
  • COVID vaccination may protect you from long term complications of COVID-19 infection
  • COVID vaccination will protect and support our health services, freeing up resources by reducing case numbers and preventing further backlogs for other important treatments and procedures
  • If enough people in the community are vaccinated, “herd immunity” will protect the vulnerable by reducing the spread of the virus

Will the COVID vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not use a live virus and cannot cause a COVID-19 infection. However, it is possible that you may experience mild flu like symptoms for the first couple of days after receiving the vaccine as your body is developing an immune response.

Additionally, it is important to remember that it will take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, it is possible that you could become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after being vaccinated.

Which COVID vaccines will Australians be receiving?

Currently, the Australian government has entered into agreements to purchase three COVID-19 vaccines:

Pfizer/BioNTech:

  • mRNA based vaccine (new technology)
  • (-) minus 70C storage (ultra-cold)
  • Phase 1(a) rollout
  • Can be given to people 16 years and over
  • Requires 2 doses (3 weeks apart)
  • Provisional approval by TGA

University of Oxford/ AstraZeneca:

  • Viral vector vaccine (traditional technology)
  • 2-8C storage (fridge)
  • Phase 1(b) rollout and beyond
  • Can be given to people 18 years and over
  • Requires 2 doses (4-12 weeks apart but 12 weeks is optimal)
  • Provisional approval by TGA
  • Capacity to manufacture in Australia (CSL)

Novavax:

  • Protein vaccine
  • 2-8C storage (fridge)
  • Not known when will be available
  • Can be given to people 18 years and over
  • Requires 2 doses (3 weeks apart)
  • TGA approval pending

Which COVID-19 vaccine will SPMC be providing and when?

Initially, SPMC will be providing the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the Phase 1(b) rollout (and beyond), commencing the week of the 5th April.

At this point, it is not known if we will be providing the Pfizer or Novovax vaccines.

Which vaccine will I be given and am I able to choose which one I receive?

The vaccine that you are given will be largely determined by the category you fall into (phases detailed above), subsequently, it is not expected that you will be able to choose the vaccine you receive or be able to pay an additional cost to receive a different vaccine.

Initially, SPMC will be providing the Oxford University/ AstraZeneca vaccine in accordance with the national rollout. This vaccine appears to give excellent protection.

As previously mentioned, it is anticipated that Novavax will be provided at some stage of the rollout, pending TGA approval and availability.

Can I request my usual GP to administer the COVID vaccine?

As the COVID vaccine comes in multi-dose vials, vaccinations will be administered via stand-alone clinics with rotating general practitioners (currently Saturday morning sessions) to minimise vaccine wastage.

Therefore, when you are due to receive your vaccination it is possible that your GP may not be rostered on for that session.

We will of course try to provide you with a specific GP if requested, however, this may mean that your first vaccination will be delayed. You may need to see a different GP for your second dose to ensure you are vaccinated at the recommended timeframe.
Please be reassured that all medical staff (GPs and nursing staff) involved in our vaccination clinics are highly trained professionals, skilled in providing vaccines and post vaccination monitoring. Furthermore, all medical staff involved in our clinics have undertaken specific COVID-19 vaccine training.

Can I see my GP for a regular appointment when I receive the vaccine?

As the COVID vaccine comes in multi-dose vials, vaccinations will be administered via stand-alone clinics with rotating general practitioners (currently Saturday morning sessions) to minimise vaccine wastage.

To ensure efficiency, a COVID clinic appointment will only deal with COVID related matters (e.g. eligibility, safety concerns, vaccine administration and monitoring).

The practice will continue to provide regular appointments (concurrently with COVID clinics) for non-vaccine related health matters, however, this will involve a different doctor to the one that administered your vaccine.

Our reception staff will be able to advise you when your GP is available for COVID vaccination and regular appointments.

The practice may review this policy as the rollout progresses.

Will there be a cost associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. A COVID-19 appointment (vaccine and consultation) at SPMC will be bulk billed (no out of pocket expense) as per federal government regulations.

Will it be mandatory to have the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. The vaccine will be voluntary for all Australians, although some workplaces are considering mandatory vaccination for their employees (if unsure, speak to your employer).

If you are unsure about receiving a COVID vaccine we would recommend that you:

  • ask yourself what you are concerned about
  • make a list of your questions and concerns
  • speak with your GP to assist in the decision-making process

Our GPs understand there will be some degree of COVID vaccine hesitancy. Please feel comfortable to discuss these concerns in a non-judgmental environment with our doctors at SPMC.

If the Pfizer vaccine has been granted approval for use, why aren't all Australians receiving it?

Due to primarily external factors, the government has been unable to secure enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine to cover the COVID vaccination needs of the entire Australian population. As a result, at least initially, only people who fall into the Phase 1(a) category will receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Moreover, the government has entered into agreements with additional vaccine providers to ensure the ongoing supply of safe and effective COVID vaccines for all Australians.

I have heard that some COVID-19 vaccines have a higher efficacy rate than others (in particular, that the Pfizer vaccine is more efficacious than the AstraZeneca vaccine). Will my vaccine be effective?

All COVID-19 vaccines that Australians will receive are very effective in preventing severe COVID disease, hospitalisation and death (90% Pfizer and 100% AstraZeneca and Novavax).

However, to fully answer this question, and clarify information recently distributed through mainstream media, it is important to understand the difference between vaccine efficacy and vaccine effectiveness.

Vaccine efficacy is the degree to which a vaccine prevents disease, and possibly also transmission, under ideal and controlled circumstances (e.g. in a randomised controlled trial).

Therefore, a vaccine with an efficacy of 95% in a trial, for instance, means there was a 95% reduction in cases of disease in the vaccinated group compared to the unvaccinated (or placebo) group.

(Note: recent media reports regarding results of COVID vaccine trials are usually referring to vaccine efficacy).

Vaccine effectiveness meanwhile refers to how well the vaccine performs in the real world.

Importantly, vaccine efficacy in laboratory conditions does not always translate to effectiveness, and so an efficacy trial can over or underestimate a vaccine’s impact in the real world.

The current efficacy and effectiveness rates of the COVID vaccines that Australians will receive are:

  • Pfizer- 95% efficacy + 90% effectiveness
  • AstraZeneca- 76% efficacy for 3 months after single dose  + 100% effectiveness
  • Novavax- 95.6% efficacy + 100% effectiveness

Therefore, so far, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been 100% effective in preventing people from developing severe COVID infection, hospitalisation and death, despite having a 70% efficacy rate on average).

It is also important to note that the effectiveness of the annual influenza vaccine ranges between 40-60% yet saves thousands of lives each year.

To summarise, current evidence suggests that all COVID vaccines are very effective in providing protection from severe COVID disease and death, which is why they are high on the list of vaccine candidates for Australians.

How safe are the COVID-19 vaccines? It feels as if there has been a rush to bring these to market.

Australia’s drugs and vaccination safety watchdog, also known as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia has some of the highest standards in the world for screening new treatments.

This means that we do not just accept the information from other nations unless they uphold similar high standards and even then, the TGA puts all medicines through our own screening process.

Importantly, our prime minister has unapologetically confirmed that our strict and stringent drug approval process has contributed to delays in getting COVID vaccines to the market in Australia.

Moreover, as Australia has managed the spread of COVID infection extraordinarily well so far during the pandemic (particularly compared to many other developed countries like the UK and USA), it has placed us in the enviable position where there is less urgency to rush or fast track the approval process. This additional time also allows the TGA to observe and analyse the preliminary safety data (side effects and reactions) filtering through from countries that have already administered large volumes of the vaccine.

Despite these safeguards and assurances, it is perfectly normal to have some concerns. Please feel comfortable to discuss these concerns in a non-judgmental environment with our doctors at SPMC.

What side effects can I expect after having the vaccine?

As with any vaccine, you may have some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Common side effects after COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca include:

  • pain, swelling, tenderness, redness or itching at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • fever and chills
  • feeling unwell
  • joint pain.

 

Less common side effects after COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca include:

  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • pain in limb
  • dizziness
  • decreased appetite
  • stomach pain.

 

These side effects are usually mild. They occur in around two-thirds of people who are vaccinated, start within a day after the vaccination and go away within one or two days.

Some people will have more significant flu-like symptoms from this vaccination compared to other vaccines and may require time away from normal activities. These symptoms are more common after the first dose compared with the second dose.

 

Rare side effects that have been reported after COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis):
    • This occurs in approximately 1 in a million people getting this vaccine.
  • A very rare and unusual clotting condition:
    • A very rare side effect of an unusual condition involving blood clotting and low blood platelet count may occur after of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This affects approximately 4 to 6 out of a million people after receiving a first dose, but has not been seen after the second dose of this vaccine.
    • The blood clots can occur at different parts of the body, including the brain (this is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) and the abdomen. The low level of blood platelets can cause bleeding.
    • The symptoms of this condition mostly start between 4 and 20 days after vaccination.
    • People with this condition get very unwell and need to go to hospital. This condition can lead to long-term disability, and even death.

 

If you would like more information, the Department of Health has provided some fact sheets:

What is the risk of having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a COVID vaccine?

The current data suggests that severe allergic reactions to COVID vaccines are exceedingly rare (approximately 1 in a million people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine).

 

Importantly, there have not been any reported deaths from severe allergic reactions to a COVID vaccine

If I have multiple allergic reactions to drugs and have previously reacted to vaccines, should I have the COVID vaccine?

If you have an immune condition or a history of a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines your GP will discuss these issues with you prior to administration to determine if you are suitable for vaccination. It does not necessarily mean that you cannot be vaccinated.

The US CDC has created a webpage “COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions” that outlines how to determine whether a person with previous allergic reactions should be vaccinated.

Is the COVID vaccine safe for pregnant women?

The COVID vaccines that Australians will receive have not been tested on pregnant and breast-feeding women in clinical trials, so currently there is insufficient information about their effects on pregnant women/ foetuses and infants.

Current advice recommends that administration of a COVID vaccine during pregnancy only be considered if:

  • the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high and cannot be avoided
  • underlying conditions may predispose the mother to serious complications of COVID-19

It is recommended that women who fall into the above groups discuss the option of COVID-19 vaccination with their GP, obstetrician and or midwife.  

What safety precautions will SPMC have in place to monitor and treat severe allergic reactions to the COVID vaccine?

  • Pre- vaccination screening to assess your risk of severe reaction and determine suitability for the vaccine
  • Highly skilled and trained medical staff that will monitor you after receiving the vaccine and are able to provide immediate assistance and treatment if required
  • Our practice has appropriate medications and equipment on hand to provide immediate treatment if required (e.g. adrenaline/ antihistamine/ oxygen/ blood pressure monitors)
  • Everybody that receives a COVID vaccine will be asked to remain at the practice for 15-30  minutes post vaccination to monitor for allergic reactions and side effects

How long will I have to wait at the surgery after receiving the vaccine?

To monitor for severe allergy and side effects, you will be asked to remain at the practice for a period post vaccination.

People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy in the past will be monitored for at least 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

All other people will be monitored for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

The vaccine needs to be given in two doses. What happens if I delay or miss my second dose?

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines need to be delivered in 2 doses: Pfizer (3 weeks apart) and AstraZeneca (4-12 weeks apart but 12 weeks is optimal). A delay can affect their efficacy and make them less protective.

Therefore, it is very important that you receive your second dose.

You should get the second dose even if you have side effects after the first jab unless your GP specifically tells you not to get the second injection.

If you miss your second dose, this means you are not protected against the effects of COVID-19 if you become exposed.

If you are travelling when your second dose is due, we will discuss with you the best options available for receiving your second dose.

Each vaccination will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.

Will you provide me with a record of my COVID vaccination? Can I access my COVID vaccination record online?

As a vaccination provider we are required by Australian law to record all vaccinations on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

We will also upload a record of your COVID vaccination to your My Health Record (included in a Shared Health Summary) with your consent. Depending on your MHR settings, you may receive an SMS/email from the government notifying you of the upload.

Options to view and print your full immunisation history (including COVID-19 vaccination) include:

  • myGov (Your Services> Medicare> Immunisation History> View Statement)
  • Medicare online (will direct to myGov)
  • Medicare Express Plus app
  • My Health Record (will direct to myGov)

Please allow up to 48 hours for immunisation history to transfer to your myGov record.

On request, the practice can provide you with an official record of the COVID vaccination you have received (please note that the document will include other vaccines you have received at SPMC). Please speak to your doctor or a member of our clinical team.

Should I still get my influenza vaccine this year and when?

Yes, you should still get your annual Influenza vaccination to protect you from getting the flu and the potentially serious complications that can occur from infection.

Currently, it is advised that the two vaccines (COVID and Influenza) are spaced at least 7 days apart to ensure maximal immune response to both vaccines.

SPMC is now taking appointments for flu vaccinations. Please contact reception to make a booking!

Will having the vaccine mean that we can stop social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing?

Not yet! The vaccination program will take time, as it will occur in phases while the supplies of vaccine become available.

It is also believed that the COVID-19 vaccines may not prevent the spread of COVID-19 between people who are carrying the virus silently but are not showing symptoms. Therefore, social distancing and precautionary measures will need to continue until we get the spread of the disease under control.

About the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

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

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

The recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is that use of Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) is preferred over AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in adults under 50 years old who have not already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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 60 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 as planned.

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 make an appointment to see your doctor.

Where can I find more information about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting?

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

If you are an adult aged under 60 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.

Generally, if you have not already received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, then the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is preferred in adults aged under 60 years.

For information on how to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, please refer to the Queensland Government’s ‘Getting Vaccinated‘ webpage.

Please make an appointment with your doctor if you have any questions.

If you are 60 years of age or older, you can still receive your AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Call our friendly reception staff to book your appointment.

Disclaimer:

Information about COVID-19 vaccines/vaccination/ vaccination clinics is rapidly evolving and changing.

The information provided in the FAQ is based on the best current knowledge at the time of compiling and will be regularly updated as new information is received.

The information provided in the FAQ is not intended to be a substitute for a detailed discussion of COVID-19 vaccination related issues with your doctor or medical staff.

The information contained in the Q&A is not to be copied without the express permission of SPMC directors and management.

Through continuing medical education, we provide advanced care in a traditional environment.

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With modern, busy lifestyles, it’s easy to neglect your health as you try to put everyone else’s needs first. We’re here to care for you and your entire family. Regular visits to the doctor will depend on your age and general health, but they are important to make sure any health issues don’t go undiscovered.

Dr Margaret Hall