COVID vaccine booster shots planned for Kangaroo Island

COVID CLINIC: A health worker at the COVID Clinic at the Kangaroo Island Hospital in Kingscote back in December 2020. Photo Stan Gorton
COVID CLINIC: A health worker at the COVID Clinic at the Kangaroo Island Hospital in Kingscote back in December 2020. Photo Stan Gorton

Booster COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to people on Kangaroo Island from next month.

The Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network says COVID vaccine booster shots will be available for KI residents aged 18 and over who have had their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago, which is in line with Commonwealth advice.

A spokesperson said a booster dose was recommended to maintain immunity against COVID-19 and to make sure the protection from the first and second dose is even stronger and longer lasting.

"We anticipate to commence the booster rollout on Kangaroo Island from January 2022, in line with the six month mark when second doses were provided on Kangaroo Island between late June to early July," the spokesperson said.

"We look forward to sharing more details with the Kangaroo Island community on this next phase of the vaccine rollout and ensuring people can stay protected against COVID-19."

Australian Medical Association (SA) meanwhile is warning of a shortage of high-level personal protective equipment (PPE) and mask fit-testing is jeopardising the capacity of the health system to respond to COVID cases.

President Dr Michelle Atchison says that despite weeks of AMA(SA) asking governments for enough PPE to meet doctors' needs, the state's doctors and staff are still waiting for the PPE they need to do their jobs according to the SA Health exposure matrix.

"Doctors and staff need N95 masks and other PPE, and they need to be fit-tested to ensure they are protected and that their patients are protected," Dr Atchison said.

"Instead, we hear of doctors, practices and hospital settings desperately scrambling to find their own PPE, with no idea from where they will find enough to enable them to safely care for patients - and who will pay for it.

"There seems to be a black hole instead of the stockpile of the higher-level PPE our doctors need and is required under the current guidelines about safe practice.'

Dr Atchison said an AMA(SA) Council meeting on December 2 heard reports of:

  • a metropolitan general practitioner (GP) who could not be fit-tested for PPE until 10 December, and medical students waiting for fit-testing to allow them to fulfil hospital responsibilities
  • .a metropolitan GP 'rationing' N95 masks so that they are wearing one mask for a whole day, when an N95 mask should be worn for no longer than four hours . a doctor being fit-tested for a brand of mask for which supplies are limited or non-existent
  • .a South East GP being told they will not be supplied with N95 masks unless they are seeing COVID-positive patients.

Dr Atchison said supplying PPE to general practices was supposed to be the responsibility of commonwealth-funded Public Health Networks (PHNs).

She said AMA(SA) had been aware for some time of the "simmering" issue of PPE supplies, which had become more problematic since the guidelines were released.

"With the borders opening earlier than expected, we asked for and staged meetings with South Australia's two PHNs to discuss this issue," Dr Atchison said. "We've also raised it with SA Health.

"If GPs are to support care for 85 per cent of COVID-positive patients as the SA Health strategies outline, as well as patients with other conditions, PPE is a critical piece of the puzzle."