COVID-19 Primary Care Update 03/08/2022

03 August 2022

Good evening,

This update is focused on COVID-19 antiviral usage in the community. I was so pleased to see that SA has exceeded the national average for prescriptions for COVID-19 PBS medications, with more than 11,000 medications dispensed since March 2022.

COVID-19 antiviral access, prescribing and pre-treatment plans

GPs and primary care play an important role in caring for majority of COVID-19 positive individuals in our community. This helps to reduce the pressure on the state’s health system, with 99% of active COVID patients having been managed in the community. Early treatment of COVID-19 with antiviral medication has shown to reduce hospitalisations and death from COVID-19.

Since 1 July, the National Coronavirus Helpline has sent 454 notifications to GPs for antiviral prescribing, with the majority of PBS scripts through primary care. As part of support for residential aged care, an anti-viral treatment plan has been established and was communicated via the COVID19 Primary Care Update on 29 July 2022.

General Practitioners and residential aged care staff are encouraged to discuss patients wishes and consent for antiviral prescribing. This forms part of a comprehensive primary care assessment program developed ahead of time, should they become infected with COVID-19 or influenza. This will help to facilitate timely access to treatment in the event of infection or outbreak.

A reminder that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee announced expanded eligibility criteriato access oral antivirals Paxlovid® and Lagevrio® on July 11. This has resulted in several new Authority Codes, which may take some time to be integrated into your practice software. Please see the PBAC explanatory notes for details.

A person who tests positive to COVID-19 can seek healthcare, including attending a pharmacy to collect medication, however, please speak to your patients about alternate collection or delivery arrangement plans should they need antiviral medicines. You can also check which pharmacies stock each these medicines.

Helpful information on prescribing antivirals and to prepare pre-treatment plans is available: ·

Clinical advice and support continue to be available to practitioners who need assistance with PBS prescribing of medications via the SA Health COVID Clinical Advice line (1800 313 090, 8am-8pm 7 days). Our medical team can support with templates and guidelines for prescribing.

DATIS has extended its hours of support to provide specific advice regarding prescription of COVID-19 oral antiviral medications. It now operates 8am to 8pm, 7 days on 7425 8444.

For high risk patients who may not meet PBS eligibility criteria or who have contra-indications to the first line oral antivirals please consider referral for access to National Medical Stockpile COVID anti-viral medications (including IV remdesivir) via the centralised referral process for local health networks.

We appreciate the ongoing critical work being done by primary care providers across South Australia and acknowledge the key role that our GPs and pharmacists play in keeping our community safe.

Please forward this update to any colleagues who may not have received it and contact us at to be added to our mailing list or with any other enquiries. If you wish to be removed from this mailing list please reply STOP.


Dr Emily Kirkpatrick
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Department for Health and Wellbeing