So it is February already and let’s just say that 2022 didn’t start off as the fresh new year we had hoped for. The Covid pandemic certainly took off over the Christmas period causing much disruption for our patients and staff. Luckily the last 2 years has taught us to be flexible, patient and adjust to the challenges thrown at us and we have still been able to continue to care for our patients. We have continued our telehealth and video consultations, commenced booster vaccinations for those over 18 who had their 2nd covid vaccine over 3 months ago and started vaccination clinics for 5 – 11 year olds.
In this month’s newsletter we will be updating you on the importance of having your booster vaccine for optimum protection against the omnicron strain, provide resources with managing your covid infection at home and how best to use our telehealth services.
YFD COVID VACCINATION UPDATE
PFIZER VACCINATIONS FOR 5 – 11 YEAR OLDS
The Pfizer COVID19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old is now available for patients of Your Family Doctors at Erina.
The vaccine dose approved by the TGA for children aged 5 to 11 is the same safe and effective vaccine used for other age groups, however is one-third the dose approved for those aged 12 and over.
The current recommended schedule for vaccination in this age group is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart. The interval can be shortened in special circumstances to a minimum of 3 weeks. The 8 week dosing is to optimise your child’s immune response and reduce risk of side effects. Your child’s second appointment will automatically be made 8 weeks after their first vaccination and time emailed to you.
Bookings to our dedicates kids clinics are available ONLINE ONLY for existing patients aged 5 – 11 by following the link…..
If you are unable to find an appointment it may be due to stock levels. We are expecting deliveries every fortnight, so please check back regularly using the link above for more appointments to become available. Please book online and do not call reception.
Our clinics will be high volume so please only book a vaccine clinic appointment once you have decided to vaccinate your child. Please make an appointment with your GP if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccination for your child.
For more information visit …….
PFIZER COVID-19 BOOSTER VACCINATIONS
If you’re 18 years or over and had your second COVID-19 vaccine three or more months ago, you will be eligible for your booster dose from Friday 21 January.
At YFD we have just opened some extra Pfizer booster clinics due to increased demand (including mid week and Saturday afternoon clinics. Book for your booster dose online via HotDoc under ‘Covid-19 Vaccine dose 3 Pfizer’ if you are eligible. https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/erina-NSW-2250/your-family-doctors-at-erina/doctors?purpose=covid-vaccine
A COVID-19 booster dose strengthens your immune system and helps you maintain a high level of protection against the virus.
New evidence shows that a shorter interval to your booster dose will provide better protection against new COVID-19 variants like Omicron.
- You are eligible for a booster vaccination if you are:
- Fully vaccinated (have received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine),
- aged 18 years and over, and
- received your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago.
If you can’t remember when you received your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, check your COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement, which you can find through myGov.
It doesn’t matter if you had a different vaccine for your first two doses, you can have Pfizer or Moderna for your booster.
Please do not attend our clinics if you are a close contact to someone with Covid or have any symptoms. We can reschedule your appointment. If you have recently had Covid it is recommended you wait a few weeks for your booster until you have completely recovered.
TESTED POSITIVE TO COVID? – MANAGING YOUR COVID INFECTION AT HOME
- A positive covid test can cause anxiety and worry for many. Luckily with our high vaccination rates most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and will recover in a few days or so, with some people having no symptoms at all.
- If you are under 65 years of age, have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, do not suffer from any chronic health conditions and are not pregnant, you can safely manage COVID-19 at home.
- Please refer to the following useful links regarding how to manage Covid-19 at home.
1/ Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home
2/ NSW Health COVID-19 self-isolation guideline and support
3/ Release and recovery from COVID-19
4/ Managing COVID-19 at home with assistance from your general practice: A guide, action plan and symptom diary for patients
- Please contact your GP for a Telehealth/video appointment or call the NSW Health COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933 if you are pregnant, or if you have a chronic condition including:
* severe, chronic or complex medical conditions (including cardiac, respiratory, renal or neurological)
* immunocompromised, including if you have cancer
* severe mental illness.
- If you develop severe symptoms such as severe dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, you should call Triple Zero (000) straight away and tell the ambulance staff that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
COVID TESTING AND REGISTERING YOUR POSITIVE RAPID ANTIGEN TEST
Testing for Covid was a little tricky over the Christmas period with long wait times for PCR testing and the limited availability of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT). Thankfully both forms of testing are becoming more available. If you have any covid like symptoms or are deemed a close contact it is important to still get tested for covid as per guidelines. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/testing
For testing sites for PCR testing on the Central Coast – follow this link….. https://peoplebank.hneccphn.com.au/covid-testing-cc
Positive PCR tests automatically get registered with NSW health and you will be notified via sms.
If you perform a rapid antigen test instead and it is positive, you will need to register your positive result with Service NSW.
- Registering your positive RAT result enables NSW Health to provide you with advice on self-isolation and managing COVID-19 symptoms at home, to connect high risk people to clinical care services and to help inform the ongoing public health response.
- You can register a positive test result for yourself, another adult or a child. Each result needs to be reported separately.
- You are able to add a positive result dating back to 1 January 2022.
- You do not need to register if you had a negative result or positive PCR test in the 28 days before your positive RAT.
- Find out more and register via: https://bit.ly/3HUvwZA
For almost 2 years, we have been fortunate to have had the availability of telehealth consultations to help get us through the hurdles that the COVID-19 Pandemic has thrown at us. However, to be able to use this service and receive a medicare rebate you must have attended our practice in the last 12 months. This is not our rule, but a decision made by medicare to ensure patients that utilise the telehealth service has an existing relationship with their GP practice. If it is greater than 12 month (which we are finding is becoming more frequently the case), you will be required to attend for a face to face appointment, unless of course you have covid or cold and flu like symptoms. If you are unsure when your last face to face appointment was (lets face it, the last 12 months have been a blur!) please check with our reception staff.
Here is a quick guide on how best to utilise the telehealth service at YFD…..
- Telephone consultations are preferred for shorter appointments such as scripts, giving of results, or if you cannot attend the practice in person due to cold and flu like symptoms or are in isolation. Medicare does not allow for GP mental health plan referrals or GP management plans to be done via telephone.
- Video consultations are required for longer consults when managing multiple medical problems, GP management plans and GP mental health plans. Presently our practice is using a service called ‘’GP Consults’’ which is easy to use if you have a smart phone/ipad or computer. When your doctor is ready to begin the consultation you will receive a text message and then just follow the prompts.
- Telephone appointments with a medicare rebate are only available to existing patients that have attended our practice for a face to face appointment in the last 12 months. If you are unable to attend face to face there is an option of a private fee without a medicare rebate.
- The existing relationship requirement does not apply to
- children under the age of 12 months
- people who are homeless
- patients receiving an urgent after-hours service
- patients isolating due to COVID infection or are in isolation.
- Patients requiring sexual or reproductive health consltiations, pregnancy counselling services, mental health services and nicotine and smoking cessation counselling.
- If you are unsure what type of appointment is right for you please talk to our friendly reception staff.
The past 2 years have brought many challenges to us all, so many of us need a bit of a mental well-being boost. Going for a walk, exercising, mindfulness and breathing, relaxation, and talking to a friend or health professional, can all help give us the boost we need.
Come and have a chat do your GP if you are struggling with your mood.
Head to Health Pop up services have been developed to support people of all ages living in NSW and ACT experiencing mental health issues, especially during the Covid pandemic. Call 1800 595 212 for this free service or go to …
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467,
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
If you need immediate help or are at risk of harm to yourself of others call 000 now.
CONGRATULATIONS DR NICK YOUNG
A big congratulations to Dr Nick Young for passing his General Practice Exams last year and becoming an official specialist GP. We are very lucky to have you as part of the YFD team.
We are sad to say farewell to our much loved receptionist and Medical Practice Assistant Kirsty. We wish her all the best in her next venture.
Due to the Covid pandemic and staff having to isolate we have been understaffed. We are all under the pump and trying our very best to continue to provide our patients with quality care as well as vaccinating our community. We thank you for your patience during this challenging time.
DR ELLY ALPINE EVERESTING CHALLENGE
She did it! Our bike riding doctor has conquered her Victorian Alps Everesting bike riding challenge. Her team of predominantly females cyclists rode 500km over 36 hours on Jan 21st/22nd, reaching a height of over 10,000m! (that’s actually higher than Everest!)
Her Alpine Everesting team are hoping to raise over $80,000 to go towards Cancer research.
Dr Elly is also passionate about raising awareness of the cancer inequalities in Aboriginal and Torres strait islander communities to help close the gap.
Read more about Dr Elly’s alpine Everesting challenge/ donate by following the link ……
So that’s it for our February Newsletter. We do hope that 2022 is a great year for you all and don’t forget to make your health a priority. You can like us on facebook or instagram to keep up to date with the latest Covid changes, important health information and to see what the YFD team has been up to. Our website is also a great source of information, so please check out our blog for health information written by our team. Stay well.
Love Team YFD xx