Covid-19 Immunisation Update


When I last put pen to paper the experts were predicting an outbreak. And so it came to pass. Once again, thus far,  we have been spared.

The current situation does not carry the pervading fear of the first-time lockdowns, but somehow, we have lost our self-assured swagger.

We have Covid testing, masks, lockdowns and contact tracing, and it does work. You are not being conned. There is allot of noise out there, and some dangerous messages.

Each day, my pathology in box dutifully records all our patients who have presented for Covid testing through the testing clinics. Each day, I am humbled, there are SO many Berry residents who are getting tested, every day, with even minor symptoms. Selfless caution, people taking care of each other. They know it’s not likely but they make a sacrifice. Thankyou.

The Delta strain is the gold medalist long jumper. As yet, no foothold in Berry. There is no reason to think we should be spared, despite our best efforts. It loves confined spaces and groups inside. So please come to the surgery rugged up and alone, we are working alfresco for a reason.

Now to the nub of the issue: Immunisation.

Our practice has received allocation of the Pfizer vaccine and we have ready stock of the AstraZeneca ( AZ) vaccine.

The email term we used “Leisurely rollout” may have got somebodies attention higher up.  The government is recognizing that General Practice is the most direct method to reach target groups. That is why, our very first call has been to our local Aged care facilities, to make sure every worker around Aged care in Berry is immunised as quickly as possible. We have already started. We are also immunising our patients with disabilities.  health care workers and teachers. We have largely covered patients over 60 with 2 doses of AZ.

There is so much drama about the vaccine rollout and yes, it keeps changing. That is because the delta strain is more contagious and we are trying to predict the rate of COVID infections, which is obviously less in Berry than say Bankstown.

I do like dot points, it is simpler.

*If you are over 60, AZ is your preferred vaccine. You are at the end of a very long queue for Pfizer. If you wait, you are betting we won’t have local infections anytime soon and you will beat the odds because COVID is lethal in the elderly.

*If you have had one AZ, you can move the second dose forward. How close depends on how risky your future looks. You get to decide. Closer to 4 weeks, slightly less effective. ( I suggest currently in Berry after 6 weeks at least)

*Your risk of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) becomes less the older you are. The risk is tiny but real.

*Most of the COVID infections are in the 20-39 age group and this is the big spreading group.

*COVID is serious illness in the young, significant risks including of an illness called Long COVID.

*The Pfizer vaccine goes to younger patients. Yes, this is rationing scarce resources.

*Both vaccines are effective, should keep you out of hospital + reduce your risk of passing it on.

*Even one dose makes a big difference

*Expect a booster vaccine, later this year.

*The Health advice changes often and that’s OK, we call it evidence based.

*In the US they are having  a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

*If we “let it rip” and ignore advice, there will be carnage.

*Media hype is “fishtailing” the real messages, let’s stay on track.

At Berry Medical Centre we are trying to get every vaccine we receive into an arm as soon as humanly possible. Please be patient with our reception staff. I hope we can go about this in a generous, polite manner.

So, please make a vaccine booking through our HotDoc App on our website.

We are offering them as soon as we can. If you need more detailed information, please make an appointment with your GP. We just want to get the vaccines out there, get people covered.

We can’t bend the rules on who gets the vaccines and who get exemptions on masks.

There is just too much at stake.

As always, thank you for attention.

Neil Donovan Berry Medical Centre.