Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 13 March

Message from the Acting Chief Executive

As we are well aware, COVID-19 has devastated communities across the globe, affecting us all in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago.

Now, a little over a year in, we are in the remarkable position of having two Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccines available in Australia. Neither vaccine has been approved in a fast-tracked manner because we’re in an emergency, but approved following the same rigorous assessment process as all other vaccinations used in Australia.

There are two vaccination issues attracting media attention at the moment, and I would like to address both.

The first is vaccine supply.

As we’ve seen during this pandemic, the supply of essential items can change. As we have throughout, we will remain agile and adjust to ensure your safety and the safety of those we care for.

The supply of vaccine is no different, and we will continually evolve our rollout strategy to ensure we are able to provide vaccinations to as many people as we can, as quickly as possible.

The TGA-approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has recently been made available to us. The doses available, combined with its proven effectiveness and simpler cold-chain management, is a significant positive to the vaccination program.

To speed up vaccination, we set up new clinics at Casey and Moorabbin this week and will open another clinic, at Kingston, next week. This will take us to five employee clinics, and you can receive your vaccination at any of them. Please note that bookings are by appointment only, and you will be contacted when it is your turn.

Which vaccine you receive will depend on supply availability at the time of your appointment. Both vaccines are TGA-approved and have proven to be highly effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.

It is not which type of vaccine you receive that will make the difference – it’s whether you are vaccinated.

The second thing you may have heard about in yesterday’s media is that a small number of  countries paused vaccination with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure, after reports of blood clots following administration of the vaccine.

The TGA has advised that no link between blood clots and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been confirmed and that they have received no reports of blood clots following the use of the vaccine in Australia.

Extensive international experience also does not indicate an increased risk of blood clots associated with the vaccine. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon, with one case per 1,000 people occurring in the general population each year. The rate of blood clots in people who have received the vaccine does not appear to be higher than that.

Vaccination programs with the AstraZeneca vaccine are continuing in other countries, including in Australia, the United Kingdom and France.

The TGA and health authorities are closely monitoring for any and all unusual events associated with both vaccines currently being used in Australia, and as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has said, there is no evidence the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccination has caused blood clots.

I would like to thank the 5,000 Monash Health employees and aged care residents who have already received their first vaccination dose.

For those who are waiting, we have updated our prioritisation lists, so you can see where your work area is in the vaccination schedule. The prioritisation of clinical areas has been based on risk stratification and likely exposure to COVID-19 disease. Everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated, so please be patient.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our health service, of each other and of those we care for.

Martin Keogh
Acting Chief Executive

All managers are requested to share these updates with their teams and discuss at stand-ups and handovers. Please print a copy and display it in communication books and on employee noticeboards.

As advice and information evolve, please consult the latest updates and visit the Department of Health and Human Services and Monash Health COVID-19 website for employees regularly for the latest.

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