COVID-19 Primary Care Update 2/9/2022

02 September 2022

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your ongoing support in managing patients in the community with COVID-19. We have seen increasing demand for health services across the community, with impacts seen in Emergency Departments and in General Practices. A friendly reminder that our COVID-19 GP clinical team within SA Health are available 7 days a week to support you and your patients, please contact the clinician advice line on 1800 313 090.

Next week sees the launch of the under 5 years vaccine program in conjunction with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, GP clinics and regional Commonwealth GPRCs / Vaccine clinics.

COVID-19 vaccination for 6 months to 5 years

Children 6 months to <5 years with the following or similar conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, including those undergoing treatment for cancer, or on immunosuppressive treatments as listed in the ATAGI advice on 3rd primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised
  • Bone marrow or stem cell transplant, or chimeric antigen T-cell (CAR-T) therapy #Complex congenital cardiac disease
    • Structural airway anomalies or chronic lung disease
    • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
    • Chronic neurological or neuromuscular conditions
    • A disability that requires frequent assistance with activities of daily living, such as severe cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21).

This group will be able to access paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at selected SA Health vaccination clinics and participating general practices.

Vaccinating eligible children aged 6 months to <5 years against COVID-19 decreases the child’s risk of severe illness with COVID-19 infection. 

Recommended vaccine, dosage and intervals

Paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 5 years is half the dose given to children aged 6 to 11 and a quarter of the dose given to those aged 12 and over.

Paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be given in two doses, or three doses for severely immunocompromised children. Doses are administered 8 weeks apart.ATAGI recommend where possible to separate the administration of Paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines by 7-14 days.

SA Health recommends an interval of 14 days to separate administration of the Moderna Paediatric COVID-19 vaccine and any NIP vaccines (including influenza) and the state based Meningococcal B Vaccine Program, to ensure program safety.

More information regarding recommended vaccines, dosage and intervals:

Are you "practice ready" for cervical self-collection? + COVID Webinar Update - RACGP

Prof Katina D’Onise will provide an update on self-collection for cervical screening and steps practices can take to be ready to offer the test. Other Wellbeing SA initiatives to increase screening, such as grant opportunities for clinics, support and training for clinic staff will be covered.

Dr Emily Kirkpatrick will provide a brief COVID update.

  • Date: Monday 5 September 2022
  • Time: 6.30–7.30 pm (ACST)
  • Format: Online webinar
  • Cost: Free
  • CPD points: Two 

Register now if you are interested in attending.

Walk-in COVID-19 testing clinic at RAH moving to Frome Road

The COVID-19 walk-in testing clinic at the RAH will be closing on Sunday September 4 at 4:30pm, and re-opening in a new location on Monday September 5 at 12:30pm at the SA Pathology Traveller Clinic on Frome Road.

The Frome Road COVID-19 testing clinic will now be the only SA Health run metropolitan Adelaide clinic available for walk-ins to the general public. Operating hours at this site will be 12:30pm-4:30pm, 7 days a week, no bookings required. 

HealthPathways online portal

HealthPathways is a free online portal available to General Practitioners and other health professions that offers a reliable source of information and resources that are frequently updated to reflect current practices. Evidence-based clinical information with up-to-date referral information for specific health conditions is available at your fingertips 24 hours a day.

Please visit HealthPathways website to register for a login. 

Referral templates for COVIDKids now available on WCH website 

Referral information for the Womens and Children’s Hospital COVIDKids specialist virtual support service for complex paediatric COVID cases is now available on the WCH website. The site also has referral form templates compatible with major GP medical record software, designed to make the process of referring more efficient for clinicians in the community.

COVIDKids is a dedicated virtual service providing specialist support for children and young people.

TGA provisional approval of bivalent vaccine 

The TGA has provisionally approved Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, elasomeran/imelasomeran (SPIKEVAX Bivalent Original/Omicron) for use as a booster dose in adults 18 years and over. This is the first bivalent COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia. The adapted vaccine triggers an immune response against two different COVID-19 variants: the original virus and the BA.1 Omicron variant.

The vaccine should be administered at least 3 months after a primary series and/or previous booster dose with SPIKEVAX or other authorised COVID‑19 vaccine, in accordance with official recommendations. SA Health are planning for a large cohort of the community that will become eligible if it passes through ATAGI. 

Invitation to GP and Mental Health Services Shared Care Focus Groups

The SA Health Mental Health GP Shared Care Liaison Group, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, Adelaide PHN, Country SA PHN, AMPHEaT, Sonder, and SAPMEA, are holding focus groups across the LHNs with the aim to investigate the educational needs of GPs, health professionals, and service providers to more effectively deliver shared mental health care.

The focus group aims to:

  • Facilitate meaningful engagement between mental health clinicians, service providers and GPs
  • Provide feedback on Adelaide PHN's Needs Assessment
  • Identify issues and opportunities around the challenges in mental health/physical health care
  • Identify topics for shared educational forums to discuss shared care issues
  • Identify the group's preference for learning - what educational format is best?

An invitation is extended to GPs, LHN consultants psychiatrists, medical officers, mental health clinicians of all disciplines, and NGO MH providers to participate in the focus groups.

There are four groups across September, three face to face within the metro LHNs and a regional LHN group which will be held online. WCHN medical officers and clinicians are invited to attend any of the four focus groups.

Register to attend a focus group near you:

If you have any queries about the focus groups, please contact Lisa Wilton, Advanced Nurse Consultant, Mental Health GP Shared Care, Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, on 0411 224 904 or email lisa.wilton@sa.gov.au 

Completion of South Australian free influenza immunisation program

We would like to remind practices that invoices for reimbursement for privately purchased influenza vaccine stock, administered as part of the 2022 free influenza immunisation program must be submitted by close of business on Monday September 19 2022. Only vaccines administered between May 29 and August 31 2022 will be eligible for reimbursement. Further information is available here 

New resources for bereaved parents and stillbirth education program for clinicians 

Stillbirth is one of the most devastating and profound events that any parent is likely to experience. A culture of silence around stillbirth may mean that bereaved parents and families are left to deal with difficult personal, social and financial consequences with little or no support. New resources for bereaved families that include pre-admission, stillbirth investigations, memory-making and postnatal care information are now available in 7 languages.

A video on perinatal post-mortem and community bereavement support groups have also been developed.

All resources are available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/stillbirth. An online education program ‘Stillbirth Investigations and Bereavement Care’ is available for clinicians at https://launch.sahealth.sa.gov.au.

Please forward this update to any colleagues who may not have received it and contact us at Health.COVID-19GPLiaison@sa.gov.au 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
Community COVID Commander, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Department for Health and Wellbeing