Pandemic not over, cautions COORDINARE’s Medical Director

12 May 2023

With the World Health Organization recently declaring the end of the global health emergency, COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN acknowledged and thanked our region’s health professionals for their significant and ongoing response to the pandemic.

Dr Kathy Michelmore, COORDINARE’s Medical Director said more than 80 percent of vaccinations against COVID-19 have been administered by general practitioners.

“The figures demonstrate that vaccines and boosters have helped reduce the death rate and hospital admissions, but it is important to remember the COVID-19 pandemic is not over,” she warned.

“Although we are no longer in a health emergency, it is important we all remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still present in our communities and new variants may still pose a threat,” said Dr Michelmore.

“By continuing to receive the COVID boosters our community can continue to limit the impact of the virus, especially on vulnerable members of our community.

“But there is a risk if we become complacent and if vaccination rates fall,” she added.

Milton Family Medical Practice’s Manager Marion Hatwell said, "Our concern about the end of global health emergency declaration is that sort of thinking could cause our community to become complacent and fall behind in vaccinations.

“We created mobile vaccination clinics during the pandemic for those with mobility or transport issues. We’ve decided to continue our mobile clinics as a permanent service, as we are concerned for those who could fall behind in their protection from COVID. We continue to check if patients are up-to-date, especially those who don't have regular contact with health professionals. They often need to top up their COVID boosters,” Ms Hatwell said.

“Whenever we have an influx of tourists we broaden our scope of patients who need to be offered vaccines,” she said

If you are an adult and it is more than six months since your last COVID vaccination and if you haven’t had COVID in that six-month period, talk to your doctor to about topping up your vaccines.

“Boosters are important in maintaining protection against severe COVID illness and protecting those at risk of severe illness – that is, everyone aged 65 years and over as well as younger adults who have medical comorbidities, disability or complex health needs,” said Dr Michelmore.

“We're encouraging people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to top up their booster before June this year. COVID isn't a seasonal virus like influenza, but it is possible to have a COVID and flu infection at the same time. Getting vaccinated against both viruses prior to winter is recommended,” she said.

A COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as flu shots and other vaccines. To book a vaccination appointment view the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Service Finder.

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