Overview: COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Update #5
The ANMF was informed that the State rollout will continue to focus on those groups contained within phase 1b. Once this phase is complete it is likely that the rollout will continue on an age-based approach. This will likely involve those under 50 attending a Pfizer hub and those over the age of 50 attending a GP where the Astra Zeneca vaccine will be administered (unless there are contraindications to use of that vaccine).
At a regional level the North West Regional Hospital Pfizer has been closed as it was located in an area that will be required for use for surge beds during the winter influenza season and work is currently underway to switch the Mersey Community Hospital’s Astra Zeneca hub to a Pfizer hub.
The Launceston General Hospital is looking to increase the doses being administered at their Pfizer hub from 1300 to 2300 per week and assessments are underway in the South to look at opening a second Pfizer hub to vaccinate 18–50-year-olds in the community.
Work is also being undertaken to assess the efficacy of cold storage transport and whether defrosted Pfizer vaccines can be kept between 2-8 degrees as this testing will inform the strategy for vaccinations in the regional areas. Once this is determined, district hospitals will be a priority for vaccination.
It is anticipated that two off-site clinics will soon be established at University of Tasmania campuses where nursing and other health students entering into the health care setting for clinical placements, will be vaccinated on site.
As a result of the vaccination guidelines pertaining to Astra Zeneca, it is anticipated that vaccination rollout finish date will likely be pushed out to January 2022.
The ANMF enquired as to any adverse events related to the vaccination and were informed that there had been a number of adverse events and while at first these were reported to be anaphylactic events, these have now been categorised as anaphylactic like side effects. It was reported that most of these reactions occurred in individuals who had experienced side effects following the influenza vaccine in 2020. The ANMF, therefore, encourage any member who has had a previous reaction to the influenza vaccine to seek advice from their GP prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The ANMF has continued to lobby for all members in Aged Care and the Disability sector over the Federal Government’s poor handling of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in these sectors. The ANMF has raised through the ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, in a meeting with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt that the Commonwealth program should be handed over to the State to coordinate and manage. This was further confirmed by Annie Butler last evening after Minister Hunt’s office again sought the view of the ANMF.
The ANMF believes this is the best way forward in order to secure better transparency around timelines for vaccination, ease of access and a consistent approach to COVID-19 in Tasmania. ANMF will continue to keep members informed if there is any decision made in this regard.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our Member Support Team.
The ANMF continues to support nurses, midwives, and care workers as the only union in Tasmania employing nurses and care workers to represent members. This is why our Organisers and Member Support Team are uniquely positioned to understand your experiences, represent you in your workplace, and offer industrial advice that’s relevant to you.
Updates correct as at 14 April 2021.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary