COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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WAPHA’s role in the vaccine rollout FAQs

What is WAPHA’s role in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in supporting general practice?  

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) plays a lead role in supporting GPs and GP Respiratory Clinics to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by:

  • answering questions relating to how or where to obtain assistance, appropriate escalation points for any incidents, how to resolve COVID vaccination program concerns and policy related issues
    • providing basic assistance with the online portal in response to technical confidence matters (not technical issues)
      • liaising between practices and the Department of Health to:  
       - obtain responses to program related questions from practices  

       - field practice requests to withdraw, delay or modify their participation in the program  

       - communicate departmental messages to practices

       - provide strategic advice/guidance on local issues and concerns.  

WAPHA is also assisting the Australian Government with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for people accessing residential aged care and disability support services. To achieve this, WAPHA works closely with key partners including the WA Department of Health, Rural Health West, AMA, ACCRM, WAGPET, RACGP and Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisations.

Can WAPHA direct us to the key resources and contacts for COVID-19 related queries?

To make it easy for practices to find the key resources and contacts for COVID-19 related queries, the team at WAPHA has compiled the following fact sheet.

Practice support for vaccine providers FAQs

How is WAPHA communicating with practices about COVID-19?
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) emails out a weekly GP Update, in conjunction with WA Department of Health, Australian Medical Association (WA), Rural Health West, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, WA General Practice Education and Training and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA. 

You can subscribe to the update  here.

The Primary Care Solutions team at WAPHA are available to support and navigate general practices through our Practice Assist service. Practice Assist can be contacted via 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or practiceassist@wapha.org.au.

How is WAPHA helping practices to implement telehealth? 
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has partnered with Healthdirect Australia to support general practices in Western Australia to deliver video consulting capability in a bid to help contain the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Find out more and register your interest.

Is WAPHA providing training and education at this time?
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has provided a series of webinars on topics such as familiarisation with Healthdirect Video Call and virtual Communities of Practice to discuss infection control, mental health and future proofing your practice during COVID-19.  Find out more.

This is in addition to the intensive support provided by our Practice Assist helpline, website and Practice Support Staff.

How is WAPHA supporting pharmacies and allied health practices during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is working closely with the WA branches of the Pharmacy Guild and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and allied health peak bodies to ensure their members are heard and informed.

Vaccine rollout FAQs

Where can my patients get vaccinated and who can I vaccinate?
Vaccination Clinic Information for Vaccination Providers

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at participating general practices, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (GP Respiratory Clinics), and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations.

All are able to administer AstraZeneca, while some have an allocation of Pfizer.

  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) is recommended for those eligible groups aged 59 year old and younger
  • People aged 60 and over who do not have one of the conditions listed here, are eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • eligible patients aged 16 to 39 years here.
  • The following groups aged 12 to 15 years old: children with a specified medical condition that increases their risk of severe COVID19 (including asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiac and circulatory congenital 2 anomalies, neuro developmental disorders, epilepsy, immune-compromised and trisomy 21)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • All children in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs.

Vaccinating Clinics Priorities

Practices and Clinics are encouraged to prioritise:
  • people in phase 1a and 1b (especially residential aged care staff – first dose of COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory as of mid-September 2021)
  • people aged 60 years and over
  • pregnant women (eligible for Pfizer)

Eligibility           

For information on Eligibility and required documents see the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker
  • Healthcare providers should continue to advise people on the preferred vaccine for their age.
  • Note as of 5th July 2021, RACF staff are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine regardless of age.
  • See Australian Department of Health – When Will I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine for more information.
Practices are reminded to check patient eligibility and the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for each booked patient at the time of booking, to ensure they are booked for the correct vaccine brand and correct timing interval.

State Health Community COVID-19 vaccination clinics

To access state-run community COVID-19 vaccination clinics, eligible patients can book a COVID-19 vaccine through the WA Department of Health online booking system VaccinateWA (Pfizer and AstraZeneca).
  • If patients are unable to book online, advise them to phone 13‑COVID (13‑268‑43) to arrange a booking.
  • People aged 30 to 39 years are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at State clinics. Bookings can be made from 9 August. Register through VaccinateWA.
  • AstraZeneca appointments are not available at state-run COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone aged under 60 years.
For more information on state-run vaccination clinics, eligibility, proof of eligibility and other required documents see Roll up for WA

When will my practice be selected to administer the Pfizer vaccine?
Following the Pfizer EOI process which began in June, a number of general practices have commenced with the administration of the Pfizer vaccine. Due to the limited supply nationally, it was necessary to prioritise the order in which general practices would receive the Pfizer vaccines. It is anticipated that all participating general practices will have the opportunity to administer the Pfizer vaccine in the coming months, based on the vaccine supply. The EOI process remains open to participating practices.

Where can I get information about administering the COVID-19 vaccines?
When searching for a clinical resource, we recommend using the COVID-19 HealthPathways (email healthpathways@wapha.org.au for login details) or visit the WA Health COVID-19 vaccination information for health providers webpage.

Where can I find information about stock management?  
For any queries related to stock management, we recommend referring to the latest version of the Onboarding Pack (if you require the latest copy please email Practice Assist). 

Is the CVAS being regularly updated? 
The COVID-19 Vaccine Administrative System (CVAS) is being regularly updated to improve functionality. From 15 May 2021, sites will not be able to progress to the ordering phase within CVAS unless the Stock Management Form has been completed. Please note the Stock Management Form is due by midnight on Friday each week. 

Where can I get information regarding vaccine supply? 
All queries relating to vaccine supply and logistics should be directed to the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 or via email. WAPHA has no control regarding supply and allocation of vaccines.

What can I do with excess vaccine doses that are about to expire? 
For stock management, refer to the latest version of the Onboarding Pack (if you require the latest copy please email Practice Assist). For specific questions related to vaccine supply and logistics, contact the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 or via email. WA Primary Health Alliance is seeking further information form the Australian Department of Health regarding excess doses and expired doses. 

What do I need to know about training requirements?  
Authorised COVID-19 vaccination providers must complete COVID-19 vaccination training to ensure our workforce is competent in the safe management and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. It is a requirement that all participating practices regularly check for updates to the training modules. WA practices must be qualified to provide vaccinations in line with both Commonwealth and WA requirements. The Australian Government vaccination training page has the latest training modules.  

It is also important to complete the short WA supplementary module as it provides WA specific information which is not captured in the Australian Government COVID-19 vaccination training program.


How can we change our practice details on the Vaccine Clinic Finder?
The Vaccine Clinic Finder is part of the Eligibility Checker. It shows participating practices in geographical locations for those patients who are eligible in the current phase of the rollout once they have completed the Eligibility Checker. 

If your practice details are incorrect in the Vaccine Clinic Finder, contact Practice Assist with all the relevant details. This information will be sent to the Australian Government Department of Health for updating in the Vaccine Clinic Finder. Updates can take 24-48 hours to occur. If the information needs further clarification or requires integration on the back end with online booking providers, this process can take longer than 48 hours.

Only permanent changes can be requested for the Vaccine Clinic Finder. Short term changes cannot be made.

Where can I find reliable patient resources?  
We recommend using HealthPathways as a source of accurate information for your patients (email healthpathways@wapha.org.au for login details). Please note that access is restricted to health professionals only and not to be circulated or shared with general public.

Can I amend the patient consent form to require the patient to return to my practice for their second dose? 
No, practices cannot amend the consent form. Patients are not required to attend the same practice for both doses of the vaccine and cannot be advised that they are required to do so. It is good practice to encourage patients to book for their second dose at the time of their first dose, but this is not a requirement.

How are the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in Australia? 
The Australian, State and Territory Governments are committed to successful immunisation of Australians with a safe and effective vaccine. Each government has different roles and responsibilities in the delivery of the vaccine. The Australian Government’s responsibility includes specifying priority populations, drawing on advice from ATAGI. More information can be found in the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Information on the specific phases of the vaccination program can be accessed here and the Australian Government Department of Health provides more information on the rollout strategy
 
For further information, refer to the COVID-19 Vaccines Stakeholder Kit .
 

Clinical information FAQ

Where can I find clinical information on COVID-19 and the vaccines?

HealthPathways WA is a secure, online portal that includes information and resources to support GPs for COVID-19 vaccination. For up to date clinical information, we recommend using the COVID-19 HealthPathways (email healthpathways@wapha.org.au for login details).

National Medical Stockpile PPE FAQ

WAPHA has been advised by the Australian Department of Health that the National Medical Stockpile is a strategic reserve and not a general supplier of product. The Stockpile is only intended to provide PPE where commercial supply is unavailable and there is a demonstrated need or clinical advice for its use.

We appreciate that some providers have been accessing the Stockpile regularly until now. Due to the widespread availability of commercial supply of PPE, as per Government advice, we would like to ask if you have tried to order from a commercial supplier?

WAPHA can only provide PPE where commercial supply is unavailable and requests meet the following criteria:

WAPHA will provide surgical masks to GPs and ACCHOs  if they have a demonstrated need, such as:
  • there is no local supply available commercially
  • the people coming to your practice are more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19
  • your practice has an unusual number of patients who have respiratory symptoms.
WAPHA will provide surgical masks to community pharmacies if they meet both of the criteria below:
  • there is no local supply available commercially
  • staff have significant contact with people who have fever and respiratory symptoms.
Due to their role in testing for COVID-19 within the community, GPRCs (General Practice Respiratory Clinics) will continue to receive PPE.

If you are experiencing difficulties obtaining PPE from a commercial supplier, please notify WAPHA at practiceassist@wapha.org.au addressing the above points.

Ref: health.gov.au PPE distribution

Ref: National Medical Stockpile
Practice Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.

Disclaimer
While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.