Dr Trevor Andrews’ article to Mirror Sept 5

Another week in the pandemic brings a change in policy from the Premier and his Health advisors. With rising case numbers due the highly contagious Delta variant of the Covid virus the State Government is no longer aiming for Elimination and Covid zero in Victoria. And the Lockdown is being extended for another few weeks.

It’s a time to be flexible and adjust plans accordingly. So far, we have been very fortunate in Corner Inlet with no cases but this could change in coming weeks. Vaccination becomes an even more important way to protect yourself and our community.

Since the first batch of vaccines arrived at Foster in late March, there has been a reliable weekly supply and we have been busy administering them—7193 of which 2756 are second doses and 4437 first doses; a great response from the local community. A big shout out to all our clinic nurses who have stepped up to meet the increased workload and our officestaff arranging a reliable and seamless appointment system.

After a second dose you can access your “MyGov” account to obtain a Vaccination certificate, something that maybe required in the future.

We have 800 bookings (mostly filled) for this week and are always adding more sessions to meet the demand. There are about 2000 doses combined of both AstraZeneca and Pfizer in the fridges waiting for an arm, so if you haven’t had a vaccine yet please make an appointment. Those people aged over 60 waiting for the Pfizer vaccine should re consider their decision as we have no indication when it will be available for this age group. In line with changes state-wide we are now re scheduling AZ vaccine second dose at 6 weeks, not 12 as previously. If you already have an AZ second dose appointment, please keep this one.

Furthermore, some reassuring real-world studies (not trials) have come from UK this winter demonstrating very effective protection against serious Covid disease after 2 doses of both vaccines; Pfizer 96% and AstraZeneca 92%. And it appears the AZ vaccine protection is not waning at all over 3 months of the study. ICU admissions (many young adults) in Victoria during this outbreak are all unvaccinated people.

On another note, it’s important not to ignore our general health and remember the clinic is operating normally. Anyone with a cold or cough is seen at the separate ‘rail trail’ end of the clinic to be properly assessed by a nurse or doctor, well away from the waiting room/reception area.

Lockdown rules are tough for everyone so remember to keep in touch with friends and relatives by any means. Let’s hope regional Victoria gets some relaxation of restrictions this week as promised and reduces the social isolation of everyone.

General practice has changed over the years, using more sophisticated technology to improve patient care. In 1992 Foster Medical Centre had 5 doctors, 1 practice nurse and paper patient records. Now we have 19 doctors, 9 practice nurses, over 20 office staff, numerous computers for the patient records and 2 happy chooks in the garden!