As COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities, Healthy North Coast is encouraging all those who are eligible for a fourth vaccine dose to book now.
From Monday, 11 July an additional 7.4 million Australians became eligible to receive a fourth vaccination. This followed the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updating its recommendations.
ATAGI now recommends that people aged 50 to 64 years should have their fourth dose. People aged 30 to 49 years may choose to have a fourth shot, as they are now eligible.
Healthy North Coast Chief Executive Officer Julie Sturgess said ATAGI had also reduced the recommended interval between vaccinations from 4 months to 3 months. The interval between a person catching COVID and recovering, and their next recommended vaccine dose, is also 3 months.
‘The North Coast has an outstanding COVID vaccination rate – greater than 95% for people aged 15-plus who have had 2 doses, but it is important to continue to strengthen protection given COVID-19 variants are still circulating,’ Ms Sturgess said.
‘For those who’ve had 3 or more shots, we’re slightly behind the NSW average – 66% compared to 68% as of 10 July.
‘It’s important we all stay up to date to protect ourselves and our community and help lessen the strain on the health system.’
You can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment by texting ‘Hey EVA’ (Easy Vaccination Access) to 0481 611 382 or visit the online COVID-19 vaccination clinic finder to book an appointment.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available at a range of locations including local GPs, pharmacies or respiratory clinics.
In other recent changes, all Australians aged over 70 who test positive to COVID will be able to access antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme.
Access will also be expanded to:
- people aged over 50 with two or more risk factors for severe disease
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 30 with two or more risk factors for severe disease
- immunocompromised people over 18 who may also be eligible.
- Antiviral treatments, taken as a tablet or capsule, help to stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe – but they need to be started early after testing positive,’ Ms Sturgess said.
Healthy North Coast is urging North Coast residents to take advantage of free flu shots offered by the NSW Government up to 17 July and to book a vaccination appointment with their GP or local pharmacy as soon as possible.
‘The influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over,’ Ms Sturgess said.
‘It can be given on the same day as the COVID-19 vaccine. There are over 200 locations across the North Coast where people can access their COVID or flu vaccines, including GPs and pharmacies.’
Ms Sturgess said people should continue to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and influenza, such as:
- staying at home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with other people to protect yourself and the community
- wearing a mask in indoor spaces if you are unable to physically distance
- sneezing into your elbow instead of your hands
- washing your hands thoroughly and often.