Pharmacists opt out of third shot as doses of vaccine set to expire

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“We’re hearing people booking through their GP are not experiencing any delays whatsoever, but we’re also hearing some anecdotal reports that when people approach the state system or other providers, the information hasn’t yet caught up,” he said, referencing the rollout across the country.

NSW Health confirmed it was administering third doses to people at its vaccination clinics with appropriate documentation.

Mr Taylor said part of the problem could be confusion about access and eligibility. His organisation will hold a webinar information session about the third doses in the coming weeks.

“As we slowly emerge out of lockdown, we don’t want to leave anyone behind,” he said.

A federal Department of Health spokesperson said there were multiple ways immunocompromised patients could demonstrate they were eligible for a third dose, including a GP referral letter, a specialist referral letter, MyHealth Record, a chronic disease management plan, a hospital discharge form or a script for medication.

“People who do not have this level of proof, or may not wish to disclose details about their medical condition, can complete an Eligibility Declaration Form (akin to a statutory declaration form) to declare that they are eligible,” they added.

Asked how many people had successfully done this, the spokesperson said the National COVID-19 Taskforce was “not yet making available on the number of booster doses administered to ensure the protection of individuals privacy”.

“[Lieutenant General John] Frewen is committed to transparency and ensuring any information released provides an accurate picture of Australia’s vaccine rollout and is working with the states and territories on ways to release more detailed datasets,” they said.

Ben Riganti, 37, received his third dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday after being contacted by his GP.

Ben Riganti and Lyn Walker will still be cautious while out and about, even though Mr Riganti has received a third vaccine dose.

Ben Riganti and Lyn Walker will still be cautious while out and about, even though Mr Riganti has received a third vaccine dose.

The Newcastle kidney transplant recipient, who has cerebral palsy, said he got vaccinated so he could “go out in the community and have fun seeing [his] friends and family”.

Mr Riganti’s sister and carer Lyn Walker said she trusted the recommendations of his doctors and was grateful his GP reached out as she had heard stories of confusion from other transplant recipients.

“His doctors and his nephrologists have already saved his life. When weighing it up I thought – what would happen if he did contract COVID and he lost the kidney?”

The pair will continue to be careful out and about in Newcastle, where cases have been high in recent weeks.

“Ben absolutely loves the clubs, so we have chosen one club in our area, and he goes in with his mask on, and we sit away from people,” Ms Walker explained.

“We were careful even before the pandemic, using hand sanitiser and things. But I don’t want to wrap him in cotton wool – he needs to live his life.”

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