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Phone

03 9370 3322 

 

Email

avhg@internode.on.net

 

Fax

03 9370 3677 

 

Address

73 Union Road

Ascot Vale,  VIC 3032 

 

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COVID19 VACCINATION 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately due to high demand, we cannot accept any more bookings (Astra Zeneca only) for 2021.

 

We will not be providing Pfizer vaccination.

 

 

If you require a vaccination in the meantime, we suggest you attend one of the dedicated vaccination hubs.

 

 

Vaccination hub locations can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccination-centres

                  

 

 

COVID 19 – COMMON QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

 

 

The various vaccine have been developed too quickly – How can we be sure it is safe?  

 

  • The TGA has approved this vaccine after an in-depth and independent full assessment was undertaken (NCIRS, 2020; TGA, 2020; Healthdirect, 2020).  
  • An unprecedented amount of resources and number of international researchers have been working towards the same clinical goal and have achieved this due to the devastating impact COVID-19 has had (NCIRS, 2020; Healthdirect, 2020).  
  • The same number of trials and tests has been undertaken with COVID-19 vaccines as expected with any other new medicines. The vast number of trial participants in target groups has allowed this to happen more quickly than usual (NCIRS, 2020). 
  • Pharmaceutical companies invested in manufacturing early on, so there was no delay between completion of trials and safety testing and the roll-out (NCIRS, 2020). 
  • Technology has evolved to be able to manufacture vaccines faster including sequencing the genetic code of the virus (Healthdirect 2020; NCIRS, 2020; Lewandowsky, et. al., 2021). 

 

What are the possible side-effects of the vaccines? 

 

  • All vaccines can cause side-effects. Usually, only mild effects may be experienced which disappear quickly (Lewandowsky, et. al., 2021; NCIRS, 2020).  
  • Common side effects are reported to be very similar to those that you may experience with other vaccines. These are normal as your immune system is being activated. Examples include: 
    • Muscle soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. 
    • Fever. 
    • General tiredness for a few days 
    • Headache (ATAGI, 2021b; Healthdirect, 2020). 

 

Can you get COVID-19 from the different vaccines and can the vaccines change your genetic code? 

 

  • No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contains live coronaviruses. Therefore, the virus is unable to replicate and grow to cause an infection (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021). 
  • The AstraZeneca recombinant, genetically modified vaccine cannot spread or multiply throughout the body. None of the active vaccine components enter the human cell nucleus and cannot alter your DNA or genetic make-up.
  • Receiving a vaccine will not result in a positive COVID-19 swab test. However, it is possible for a person to catch COVID-19 just before or after a vaccination and therefore return a positive test due to an active infection acquired before the vaccine was effective (CDC, 2021).
  •  Following the AstraZeneca vaccine an antibody test for the spike protein of COVID-19 may be affected.
  • It is important to still get a COVID-19 test performed at your local testing centre if you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, even after you have been vaccinated. 

 

Now that I have received the vaccine, do I still need to follow physical distancing and wear a mask when recommended? 

 

  • Yes, all COVID-19 safe preventative measures such as wearing masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing should still be followed after receiving the vaccine (NCIRS, 2020). This is because the vaccine program will take a while to be rolled out and for the effect to be seen. If the vaccine program is effective and a large proportion of people are immunised then restrictions may be able to ease if herd immunity develops (NCIRS, 2020). 
  • Herd immunity is when enough people in a population are vaccinated and immune to prevent person to person transfer of a particular disease. Achieving this requires a large proportion of the population to be vaccinated and the vaccine to provide effective, long term protection. As we learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, we will learn if herd immunity can be achieved (NCIRS, 2020).

 

Should I take paracetamol or ibuprofen before and after the COVID-19 vaccination?

 

  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen are not recommended routinely before or after vaccination. There is currently no evidence on the benefit of painkillers for the prophylactic prevention of immunisation injection pain or systemic reactions following COVID-19 vaccination. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can, however, be considered for the management of adverse events (e.g. pain or fever, respectively) if they occur after vaccination (ATAGI, 2021b).  

 

Can I get my influenza vaccine at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine? 

 

  • It is not recommended that any other vaccines be given within 14 days before or after a COVID-19 vaccine. (Healthdirect, 2020; ATAGI, 2021b)

 

Will the vaccines prevent COVID-19 infection or just severe symptoms? 

 

  • Vaccine developers are releasing announcements on the efficacy or effectiveness of vaccines in preventing COVID-19 symptoms and disease as soon as they are available. The results are very promising and indicate that the existing vaccines are statistically significantly effective (more than a coincidence) in preventing COVID-19 (NCIRS, 2020).
  • Data on the real-word effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 disease and symptoms and the duration of this protection will be gathered over the coming months and years (ATAGI, 2021b). It is difficult to give exact rates of efficacy as this depends on the population group receiving the vaccine such as their age and health status.
  • At this stage the vaccines have been shown to prevent severe COVID-19 disease, but it may still be possible to be infected with, and to transmit (spread) COVID-19 to other people.  For this reason, it is important to be tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even after you have been vaccinated.  

 

 

How many doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be required and what will be the schedule?

 

The AstraZeneca/University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine also requires two doses, given around 12 weeks apart (or as short as 4 weeks apart, if necessary). Refer to ATAGI clinical guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia in 2021 for more details on dose timing.

 

 

What happens if the second dose is given late or is missed?

 

If the second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is overdue (i.e. past the preferred interval), that second dose should be given as soon as possible. A single dose is likely to only provide short-term protection. The second dose will be effective regardless of how late it is given. Even if the second dose is late, no vaccine doses need to be repeated. 

Additional or booster doses beyond the two-dose course are not currently recommended. The need for any additional doses will be reviewed over time.

 

 

Will the COVID-19 vaccines be effective on new variants of the virus?

 

Certain viruses, including the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, naturally mutate over time. Often these mutations don’t impact how viruses affect us. However, some recent variants of SARS-CoV-2 are more easily spread and appear to be associated with increased numbers of cases in some countries.

Current evidence from clinical trials indicates that the antibodies induced from COVID-19 vaccines are likely to provide protection to a variety of mutations and minor changes. However, in some cases there may be an impact on how antibody developed from vaccines based on the original strain can ‘neutralise’ the virus. This may mean that the effectiveness of the current vaccines against this particular strain could be affected. This information is still emerging and is being closely monitored. 

In the same way that the influenza vaccine changes each season, the technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccines may be able to be adapted to changes in variants. 

 

 

How long will immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine last?

 

As clinical trials are ongoing, and people have only started to be vaccinated in some other countries since around December 2020, we do not yet know how long immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine will last. We will gather more information about the duration of protection over the coming months. 

 

 

Should I wait for a better COVID-19 vaccine?

 

The COVID-19 vaccines we will have in Australia have already been shown to be safe and effective, and it is strongly recommended to get vaccinated as soon as you are offered a vaccine. 

Having a COVID-19 vaccine now offers you and others protection against the disease and is the fastest way to reducing our need for strict COVID-19 related measures. 

Having one course of COVID-19 vaccination now will not mean you will not be eligible to have another COVID-19 vaccine in future – it is possible that additional or booster doses of vaccine are needed in the future. More data will come on this over time. 

 

 

Do I need the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19 in the past?

 

It is important that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the entire population, even people with a past history of COVID-19. 

The vaccine clinical trials included some previously infected people (who had a blood test showing past infection). These people responded to the vaccine well. They had a good immune response and had similar mild and expected side effects to people who weren’t previously infected.

If you have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should talk to your healthcare provider about the best time to have a COVID-19 vaccination. You may be advised to wait until around 6 months after you have recovered from COVID-19 to have your vaccine. 

 

 

What happens if I get COVID-19 between the first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

 

Your body will develop an immune response within 2–3 weeks after the first dose and will be partially protected. However, all people need a second dose to achieve maximum and longer lasting protection. 

Some people who have just had one dose of the vaccine may develop COVID-19 disease. If you are infected and have only had one dose of vaccine, you will still be able to have the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but you may be advised to delay the second dose for around 6 months after you have recovered from COVID-19.

Some people may also develop COVID-19 disease after two doses; however, it is expected symptoms will not be severe. Further evidence is awaited that will provide more insight on this. 

 

 

Can children have a COVID-19 vaccine?

Children and adolescents under 18 years of age cannot have the AstraZeneca COVID-19 or Pfizer vaccine. 

This is because we don’t have any clinical trial results yet to confirm that the vaccines are effective and safe in these age groups. Clinical trials in children are planned or underway, and in the future children may be able to receive both of these vaccines.

 

 

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy?

COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended in pregnancy, because pregnant women have not been included in clinical trials. However, some pregnant women may still choose to be vaccinated after considering the benefits and risks of vaccination. 

In particular, a pregnant woman may wish to be vaccinated if she has risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19 or if she is at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, for example, because of her occupation.

Women who are breastfeeding can have a COVID-19 vaccine, and they don’t need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination. There are no theoretical safety concerns about the currently available COVID-19 vaccines for breastfeeding women or their babies. 

Women who are planning pregnancy can have a COVID-19 vaccine, and they don’t need to avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination. 

Either of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Australia – Pfizer or COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca – is suitable for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy. 

For more information it is advised that women talk to their healthcare provider and refer to the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.

 

 

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?

Almost all people with allergies can have a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people with food allergies, asthma or hayfever. 

People who have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a particular COVID-19 vaccine, or to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine, should not have another dose of that vaccine. They may be able to have an alternative brand of COVID-19 vaccine.

For some people, precautions may be needed before vaccination, such as consulting an allergy specialist, being vaccinated in a facility which has medical staff and being observed for at least 30 minutes after vaccination.

This applies to people in the following groups:

  • people who have had a suspected allergic reaction after a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine 
  • people who have had an allergic reaction (but not anaphylaxis) to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • people who have had anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to medications (including injectable or oral medications) where there may be common ingredients with a COVID-19 vaccine (such as polyethylene glycol, an ingredient in Comirnaty, or polysorbate 80, an ingredient in COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca) 
  • people who have a mast cell activation disorder.

 

If I have an allergic reaction after a COVID-19 vaccine or to one of its ingredients, can I still have the second dose?

If you have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of a COVID-19, or to one of its ingredients, you should not have that vaccine again. Your healthcare provider can help to determine whether it will be safe for you to have an alternative COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you had a suspected allergic reaction which was not anaphylaxis after a COVID-19 vaccine, or to one of its ingredients, you may still be able to have the second dose of the vaccine, but in some cases precautions are needed such as a longer period of observation after vaccination or referral for allergy testing

You can find out more about the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines in the Consumer Medicine Information, which is available on the TGA website.

 

 

Could the vaccine react with other medications? Do other medications need to be stopped to have a COVID-19 vaccine?

In general, medication should not be stopped before having a vaccine, but there are a few situations in which people might be advised to either delay vaccination or delay a particular medication:

  • Some people taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) may be advised to delay vaccination if there is a high risk of bleeding after the vaccine is injected. Most people on a stable dose of blood thinner will be able to receive the vaccine without any change to their medication.
  • People taking immune-weakening treatments (immunosuppressants), including chemotherapy, should discuss the best timing of vaccination with their treating doctor. 

People taking other medications should continue their regular treatment before and after vaccination. 

 

 

What are the likely side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?

All vaccines can cause side effects. Usually these are mild. Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have reported side effects such as pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches starting on the day or day after vaccination.  

Comirnaty (Pfizer) is generally well tolerated and most side effects are mild and short-lived. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can also cause side effects that are usually mild to moderate, appear within the first day after vaccination and generally go away within a few days. The most common side effects for both vaccines include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects are temporary and go away without treatment in 1–2 days.