HOME / Vaccine rollout FAQs

Vaccine rollout FAQs

Read our FAQs exploring the Phase 1b rollout for both participating and non-participating practices.

IMG 2102 Preparing for the COVID19 vaccine roll out ΓÇ

Phase 1b FAQs for participating practices

When will I receive my site code to register for the portal?

Week 1 practices should have already received their site code to register for the portal. Week 2-4 will receive their site codes in the coming weeks in line with their on-boarding date.

We are allocated a maximum of 50 doses, however the minimum order says 100 doses?

The minimum order is 100 doses therefore practices who have been allocated 50 doses will need to order 100 doses fortnightly. All other practices will need to order weekly.

How often can you order vaccines after the initial order?

You can order vaccines weekly up to the maximum allocated amount. If you have an allocation of 50, you will only be able to order fortnightly as the minimum order amount is 100. You must order vaccines with a minimum of 5 days’ notice to allow for processing and delivery times.

What consumables will be supplied with the vaccine?

The Commonwealth will be providing 3mL syringes, 25mm needles and sharps waste disposal bins. These will be shown with your vaccine order in the portal. All other consumables should be sourced from your usual supplier.

Does every patient need to sign a consent form or can we get verbal consent?

You can get verbal consent from a patient however this needs to be recorded in the clinical record.

What if a patient not known to us is unable to provide proof of their eligible medical condition?

If a patient is unable to provide proof of eligibility they can sign a Phase 1b declaration form. This form will be available soon from the Department website.

What evidence will be required to confirm that a patient is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

Self-identification as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is sufficient evidence. Please refer to page 12 of the on-boarding guide.

Are practice staff required to do CPR training if they have had it within the last 3 years (aligned with RACGP 5th Standards) or do they need to have a current certificate (within the last 12 months)?

If a practice is operating in line with RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition), this is sufficient to meet the requirements to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine.

Are non-clinical staff eligible as ‘other health workers’ under phase 1b?

Yes, any staff working in a health facility are eligible under phase 1b.

Can we vaccinate our own staff with our initial supply?

Health workers are included in phase 1b, therefore yes you can choose to vaccinate your own staff first.

Can the item number for the COVID-19 vaccine be billed in conjunction with a normal consultation? E.g. if the eligible patient has an appointment booked for another issue and decides to have the vaccine at that consult.

Standard MBS multiple same-day attendance rules apply to the COVID-19 vaccination suitability assessment services. Co-claiming is only permitted where another GP service is provided that is unrelated to the vaccine suitability assessment item. More information can be found here Medicare Benefits Schedule – Note AN.44.1

How long is the vaccine viable for once opened and can the vaccine be pre-drawn or does it need to be administered immediately?

The COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca Australian product information contains information on page 2 in relation to how long after opening the vial it can be stored for. The current advice is that once it has been drawn into the syringe that it should be administered immediately. Any changes to this advice will be included in updated versions of the product information.

Can a GP bill a COVID-19 vaccine assessment item before they have completed the compulsory training?

No, all practitioners must have completed the training prior to administering the vaccine or billing the associated Medicare item number.

What do we do with the COVID-19 training certificates, do we have to submit them somewhere?

The COVID-19 vaccination training is compulsory for all vaccine administrators. You do not need to submit your training certificate however you must maintain a record of completion for all practitioners at your practice. Page 6 of the on-boarding guide has more information about the training.

I don’t understand the national booking system; how will it work?

The COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Booking Service will list all practices who are participating in phase 1b. Patients will be able to check their eligibility and if eligible will be provided with links to clinics in their area. You do not need to change your usual booking process (telephone, online booking system) as the system will provide this information to the patient and they will contact the practice directly via their usual booking processes.

You do not need to do anything as your details will be confirmed when you access the portal. All practices will automatically be listed.

If you do not have an existing online booking system and wish to use one, then you can opt to use the Department of Health’s online booking system–however this will not integrate with your patient data management system. You will be able to have full control over the booking system for your practice to manage appointment times.

When you login to the portal you will be asked if you wish to use the national booking system. Only answer yes to this question if you would like to use the non-mandatory online booking system that the Department of Health is providing. If you select no, you will be still listed on the service and patients will book with you through your usual process.

How often do we need to upload vaccine data to AIR?

COVID-19 vaccine encounters should be uploaded into AIR at the time of administration or as soon as possible. Page 7 of the on-boarding guide provides options for reporting a vaccination to the AIR including directly from your practice software.

Does the practice need to check every patient’s AIR history before each dose?

Checking AIR history will enable you to confirm:

  • the patient has not already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at another location
  • the patient has not recently received a flu vaccination
  • that the appropriate time has passed between first and second doses.
Will there be guaranteed stock of the same vaccine for repeat doses?

Yes. The Commonwealth Department of Health is reserving vaccine stock for second doses and there is no requirement for practices to hold back stock for second doses.

How do I report an adverse reaction or event to the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccine providers in Queensland must report COVID-19 AEFIs using the COVID 19 Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting Form and send to COVID_AEFI@health.qld.gov.au.

If you follow this process you did not need to complete a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) AEFI form, this will be done automatically by QLD Health.

More information can be found on the Queensland Health Website – adverse event following immunisation.

Information is current as of 10/3/2021 however is subject to change due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1b roll-out.

Phase 1b FAQs for non-participating practices

How will my eligible patients know where to access the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 Vaccination and Booking Service will be available from the week of the Monday 15 March 2021. Patients will be able to assess their eligibility and access a list of participating vaccine providers in their area. We have not been advised of a specific go live date but we will provide the link once the information is available.

Do patients have to book their COVID-19 vaccination through an online booking system?

Patients can book an appointment with a participating practice directly, without going through the online booking system. The online booking system is now known as The COVID-19 Vaccination and Booking Service and assists patients to determine their eligibility and provides a list of participating practices, however it is not compulsory for patients to use this service to book their COVID-19 vaccine.

When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available for patients eligible under phase 1b?

The phase 1b roll out in general practice will take place over 4 weeks starting on the 22nd March 2021. There are 185 participating practices in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region – 51 practices will start in week 1, 15 practices in week 2, 55 practices in week 3 and 64 practices in week 4. Initial allocation of doses has been quite conservative until available supply increases; therefore, patients may not be able to access the vaccine immediately.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The following priority population groups are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 1b and includes anyone eligible under phase 1a. Patients can also check their eligibility with the online Vaccine Eligibility Checker

Phase 1a priority population groups include:

  • quarantine and border workers
  • frontline health care workers
  • aged care and disability residents
  • aged care and disability staff.

Phase 1b priority population groups include:

  • people 70 years of age or older
  • health care workers
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over 55 years
  • people with an underlying medical condition, including people with a disability
  • critical and high risk workers, including Australian Government officials about to be deployed overseas on official government business.
What proof of eligibility will my patients need?

Patients will need to prove their eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Healthcare workers: Proof of occupation (ID card, letter from employer) or phase 1B Declaration Form
  • Critical and high risk workers: Proof of occupation (ID card, letter from employer) or phase 1B Declaration Form
  • People over 70 years: All standard forms of identification (drivers licence, passport) are accepted
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 years: Self-identification as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Person (remember to ask the question)
  • People over 18 years with an underlying medical condition, including disability: Medical records (for example, a clinic record, MyHealth Record, printout of chronic disease plan); a referral from a GP or treating specialist.
  • Carers and disability workers: Carer’s documentation or proof of occupation (ID card or letter from employer/centre-based support provider).
Where can patients who do not have a Medicare card access the COVID-19 vaccine?

All eligible patients in Australia can access the COVID-19 vaccine even if they do not have a Medicare card. Patients who do not have a Medicare card can access the COVID-19 vaccine through Commonwealth funded GP Respiratory Clinics.

Where can our staff get vaccinated?

General practice staff, including non-clinical staff are eligible under phase 1b and can contact a participating general practice to arrange their vaccination. A list of participating practices will be listed on The COVID-19 Vaccination and Booking Service which will go live in the week of 15 March 2021.

Can our practice join the phase 1b rollout?

If you submitted an EOI and received an ineligible letter but you are now eligible e.g. your accreditation status has changed, please email covid19@brisbanenorthphn.org.au and you will be added to a wait list.

If you submitted an EOI and received an eligible letter and then withdrew from phase 1b and now wish to opt back-in, please email covid19@brisbanenorthphn.org.au and you will be added to a wait list.

If you did not submit an EOI or you are a non-accredited practice, you cannot join the phase 1b rollout at this stage. There will be an opportunity to participate in the next phase and we will be in touch when we have more information.

What can I do to prepare my patients for their COVID-19 vaccine?

As your patient’s usual provider, you play an important role in informing and preparing your patients for their COVID-19 vaccine. You may wish to do any or all of the following:

  • notify your eligible patients of where they can access the vaccine
  • support your patients to provide proof of their eligibility by uploading a shared health summary to My Health Record or for paper based practices you could provide a letter for your patient to take to their vaccination appointment confirming their eligibility
  • help answer any questions they have about the vaccine (there will be patient resources available soon to support this).
  • set realistic expectations on when patients might be able to access the vaccine due to demand being higher than current supply
We will be providing the influenza vaccination to our patients, do we need to make sure patients have not had the COVID-19 vaccination recently?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided advice on when the influenza vaccine can be provided to patients receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. ATAGI advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 Version 2.0

If your practice is delivering the influenza vaccination you should include checking whether a patient has recently received or is due to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as part of your screening process.

How do I know if a patient has received their COVID-19 vaccine?

All COVID-19 vaccine information will be uploaded to AIR and can be accessed on the AIR site via Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) or via the patient’s My Health Record.

Can I bill the COVID-19 assessment item if I am assessing a patient’s suitability or eligibility for a patient prior to them attending another practice to receive the vaccine?

No, for a service to be valid, a COVID-19 vaccine must be available for immediate delivery to a patient who is assessed as suitable. You can however bill a consult item number (e.g. Item 23).

More information can be found here Medicare Benefits Schedule – Note AN.44.1

What do I do if a patient has received the COVID-19 vaccine and presents to my practice with an adverse reaction following immunisation (AEFI)?

You or the patient should notify the provider who administered the vaccine immediately so they can follow the appropriate AEFI reporting process. If this is not possible you can report the AEFI yourself following the below process.

COVID-19 vaccine providers in Queensland must report COVID-19 AEFIs using the COVID 19 Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting Form and send to COVID_AEFI@health.qld.gov.au.

If you follow this process you did not need to complete a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) AEFI form, this will be done automatically by QLD Health.

More information can be found on the Queensland Health Website – adverse event following immunisation.

Information is current as of 14 March 2021 however is subject to change due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 vaccine phase 1b roll-out.