COVID-19 Vaccination

 

CCMC is an approved COVID-19 vaccination provider and are now vaccinating eligible patients

 

WE HAVE CLOSED OUR TEMPORARY VACCINATION CLINIC IN THE OLD MEGAMART BUILDING AND ARE NOW PERFORMING ALL VACCINATIONS AT OUR MAIN CLINIC (CENTRAL CITY MEDICAL CENTRE)

 

We are currently offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses, 12 weeks' apart) and the Pfizer COVID-19 (Comirnaty) vaccine (2 doses, 3 weeks apart - recommended for those between 12 and 59). (Check your eligibility here). If you have already had your first AstraZeneca vaccine then you should carry on and have the second - the risk of blood clots is even smaller than with the first injection. Everyone over 12  is now eligible to have the Pfizer vaccine. We also offer the booster (3rd dose) vaccination (generally Pfizer, regardless of which vaccine was given for the first doses ) - 4 months after the second dose (earlier for the immunocompromised - discuss with your doctor). This will change to 3 months on 31/1/22.

 

Given the expected unprecedented huge demand for the vaccine, appointments at our vaccine clinics will be short (although you will have to remain on site for 15 minutes after the injection), there will be no time for detailed discussion - we expect people turning up to have already made the decision to have the injection; if you are unsure please make an appointment with your GP to discuss further. We also hope that the information on this page is of help in making this decision. Please fill in and bring this consent form along with you to the appointment together with your proof of eligibility.

 

How can I make an appointment?

 

If you have Medicare and are over 12 (we are not vaccinating children as we do not stock the reduced dose Pfizer vaccine) then you may make an appointment here. If you don't have Medicare then you need to get your vaccine at one of the state vaccination centres.

 

You can check your eligibility here.

 

How much does it cost?

 

The government is paying for both the vaccine itself and the appointment - these will be bulk billed to Medicare

Will I get a certificate of vaccination?

No. The details of your immunisation will be uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register, you can download a statement of your immunisations from there.

Which vaccine will I get?

You can choose, when you book your appointment, either AstraZeneca or Pfizer - we recommend Pfizer for those under 60. If you have already had your first AstraZeneca vaccine then you should carry on and have the second - the risk of blood clots is even less likely with the 2nd injection). We do not have the Moderna vaccine. If you are unsure as to which vaccine you should have you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss this - the staff at the vaccine clinic are not qualified to help you with this decision.

We are not offering the Moderna vaccine.

Does the vaccine work?

Yes. AstraZeneca is approximately 92% effective at stopping hospitalization from COVID-19 and Pfizer/Moderna about 96%. The vaccines also reduce the chances of passing the virus on. Two doses of a vaccine are required to protect against the delta strain of COVID-19.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that it is extremely unlikely that we will get "herd immunity" against the delta strain and that we are going to be living with it into the future. We need therefore to be immunized to markedly reduce the chances of becoming seriously ill/dying from it when we catch it.

 
Is the vaccine safe?

One of the main concerns people have is around the safety of the vaccines; they worry that they have been brought out too quickly and that corners must have been cut to enable this. In the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA), we have one of the strictest regulators in the world and they are happy with the safety of the vaccine. Australia, as a result of relative isolation and good management, has been spared the worst of the pandemic and the TGA has therefore not had to rush into giving the emergency approval for use of the vaccine that has happened in other parts of the world and has had time to make a full appraisal of all the safety data. The TGA is continuing to monitor the long term safety data as it comes in.

All the COVID-19 vaccines that the TGA has approved have gone through the standard series of safety trials that all medication has to undertake. It has been faster for several reasons; firstly research has been ongoing on coronavirus vaccines since the SARS (or SARS-CoV-1, COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in 2002-2004 - this knowledge was readily applied to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and has given the scientists a head start into which avenues of research and development were best to follow. Secondly, all the bureaucratic processes have been hugely accelerated; when drug trials are formulated they have to be approved by various regulators and ethics committees, this takes months and months largely because it takes this long for your trial to get to the top of the pile - with the COVID-19 vaccine trials these requests were assessed immediately. Thirdly, pharmaceutical companies and governments have taken large financial risks by pumping millions of dollars into the process so large trials can be conducted straightaway rather than doing smaller ones first.

We now have the benefit of seeing many millions of people having the vaccine around the world and these are being actively monitored to give ongoing efficacy data but also looking for the possibility of rare (< 1 in 100,000 chance) serious side effects that would not necessarily have been picked up in the initial trials.

The TGA continues to monitor reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) as a potential risk with the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine. These conditions often occur following a viral infection and most cases are mild with no long-term effects. Severe cases may cause damage to the heart muscle although this is very rare.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has reported a higher than usual number of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination with Comirnaty. These cases were mainly in teenage boys after the second vaccine dose and symptoms typically started within a week of vaccination. Most individuals responded to treatment and rest. A similar pattern of cases has also been reported in Israel. Almost all were considered mild and resolved within a few days. A causal link to the vaccine has not yet been established but international regulators are investigating this. Since the beginning of the vaccine rollout in Australia (to 13 June 2021), the TGA has received one report of myocarditis and 14 reports of pericarditis following immunisation with the Comirnaty vaccine. Approximately two million doses of the vaccine have been given during this time. Most cases appeared to be mild with individuals reported to be recovered or recovering. There is no indication at present that these cases are due to the vaccine but the TGA is continuing to monitor this issue and is collaborating with international medicine regulators.

 

With the AstraZeneca vaccine there is a small risk of central venous thrombosis (blood clots) associated with low blood platelet counts. The risk in Australia is approximately 2 in 100000 and is more common in younger people. There are different levels of severity and the TGA is now classifying these as either more serious Tier 1 clots or less serious Tier 2 clots. To date, after 3.6 million doses in Australia, there have been 15 Tier 1 clots and 33 Tier 2 clots giving a risk for the serious clots of about 1 in 240,000. There have tragically been 6 deaths - a risk of 1 in 1 million. There is no increased risk of the common deep vein thrombosis (DVT - in the leg) or pulmonary embolism (lung blood clots). It is recommended that patients with a history of Central Venous Sinus Thrombosis or Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia not receive the vaccine. To put this risk into perspective, the background risk of an individual having a venous thrombosis in a given year is about 1 in 5000, for a women on the combined oral contraceptive pill this rises to between 3-12 in10,000, pregnant women the risk is between 2-3 in 1000. The risk of a blood clot after a 4 hour flight is approximately 1 in 5000 (higher for longer flights).

Read the latest safety data for all vaccines on the TGA website

 

More context (UK data, but illustrates the point):

AZ Vaccine risk:benefit CCMC COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Perth

The risk:benefit ratio of the COVID-19 vaccination depends on the background prevalence of COVID-19 in the country. Currently the prevalence in Australia is very low but, as borders open, the prevalence will increase and as it does the risk of serious COVID-19 complications rise rapidly. It is important to remember that vaccination does not prevent you catching COVID-19 and passing it onto others but rather markedly reduces the chance of serious disease. Therefore you cannot rely on everyone else getting vaccinated.

These tables compare the number of deaths, intensive care and hospital admissions admissions with the chance of getting vaccine-related blood clots for different age groups with the AstraZeneca vaccine at different levels of COVID-19 prevalence:

Risk low.png
risk medium.png
Who shouldn't have the vaccine?
  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients:

    • AstraZeneca: L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, polysorbate 80, ethanol, sucrose, sodium chloride, disodium edetate dihydrate .

    • Pfizer: ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl) bis(2-hexyldecanoate) (ALC-0315), 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N (PEG), N-ditetradecylacetamide, Distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC), Cholesterol, Potassium chloride, Monobasic potassium phosphate, Sodium chloride, Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, Sucrose

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any other vaccination

  • If you currently have an illness with a fever over 38°C

  • If you have a bleeding disorder or on blood thinning agents - you will probably be able to have the injection but discuss first with the doctor or nurse.

  • If your immune system does not work properly (immunodeficiency) or you are taking medicines that weaken the immune system (such as high-dose corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or cancer medicines) - again, you will probably be able to have the injection but discuss first with the doctor or nurse.

  • If you have had Central Venous Sinus Thrombosis, Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia, Idiopathic Splanchnic Venous Thrombosis (a blood clot in the abdominal veins), Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome with Thrombosis you should not have the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

Yes, as with all medications there is the possibility of side effects, these are similar to what we see in the annual influenza vaccination The common side effects, which include fever, sore muscles, tiredness and headache usually start within 24 hours of vaccination and last for 1–2 days. These side effects are expected and are not of concern unless severe or persistent and can be managed with paracetamol, fluids and rest. The reports of the rare clotting complications have occurred later (between day 4 and 20 after vaccination) and have generally been severe, requiring hospitalisation.
 
Patients should seek immediate medical attention if, a few days after vaccination, they develop symptoms such as:

  • as a severe or persistent headache or blurred vision

  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain

  • unusual skin bruising and/or pinpoint round spots beyond the site of injection.

Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching, swelling or bruising where the injection is given

generally feeling unwell

feeling tired (fatigue)

chills or feeling feverish

headache

feeling sick (nausea)

joint pain or muscle ache

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

a lump at the injection site

fever

being sick (vomiting)

flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

feeling dizzy

decreased appetite

abdominal pain

enlarged lymph nodes

excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash

In clinical trials there were very rare reports of events associated with inflammation of the nervous system, which may cause numbness, pins and needles, and/or loss of feeling. However, it is not confirmed whether these events were due to the vaccine.

If you have a severe or unusual side effect it is important that this is reported to the TGA - you can either ask your GP to do this or report it directly yourself.

 

Can I have the influenza (flu) vaccine at the same time?

No, there needs to be a 1 week gap between the COVID-19 vaccines and any other vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine myths
  • It makes women infertile - there is no evidence to support this claim or any theoretical reason why this might be the case. It is more likely that COVID-19 itself might cause problems with fertility given its vascular inflammatory effects.

  • It will give you COVID-19 - this is not possible; as with the influenza vaccine and may other vaccines none of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the actual virus. If you catch COVID-19 after having the vaccine it simply means either that it has not had time to work, not worked or worn off.

  • It will incorporate the COVID-19 genetic material into our DNA - this is a fear relating to the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines which use Messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct our cells to create a fragment of the COVID-19 virus (the spike protein) which, in turn, stimulates our immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus in the future and attack it. Once the mRNA has done its job it is destroyed - it is very unstable (hence the reason the vaccine has to be stored at -70°C). mRNA is made by DNA to take instructions to cells to make proteins and can not combine with DNA.

  • It contains a microchip that Bill Gates is going to use to track you - if you believe this then you probably won't have read this far down the page.

How's the vaccine rollout going?