Hello, my name is Alison McMillan and I’m the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and welcome to top 3 this morning. My shout out this morning is to the health care workers and staff working in our COVID testing clinics. It’s really important as we open up that despite our amazing vaccination rates that you get tested if you have any cold or flu like symptoms. The health care workers and staff in these clinics are there for your and the community’s benefit. Also of course protecting your friends and family. So, I today thank them for their tremendous work they have been doing throughout this pandemic. I’ve got a couple of questions today and we are going to cover each of them one at a time.
The first one of course is a terrific question. If I’m travelling over the holiday period what should I consider to remain COVIDSafe? I think it’s really exciting that we all know now we are going to be able to travel more. That will help us catching up with family and friends and a change of scenery, I think will be great for all of us. It’s really important that we continue to be COVIDSafe and do the things that we’ve been doing for the last more than 18 months now. Continue to practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly or use a hand sanitiser. If you use hand sanitiser, remember you need to use it on both sides of your hands and rub it in for 20 seconds until it’s dry. Continue to practise social distancing, so wherever possible maintain 1.5 metres. Particularly in public areas on public transport. There may be some places where you are, where a mask is still required in certain places. Even if it’s not mandated, if you choose to wear a mask in crowded places, that’s fine. Use that mask correctly and appropriately, there is no problem with continuing to wear a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable. Again, reminding you if you have any cold or flu like symptoms at all, it’s really important that you get tested as quickly as you can. Through those numerous testing clinics that are available across the country and stay home until you get your result. When travelling it’s really important to read up about the requirements of the place you are planning to travel to. So that you know what the rules are there. If you are travelling overseas there may be particular requirements around testing before you leave or certain restrictions or requirements on your arrival. So do take the time to make sure you are familiar with what you need to do and I hope you have a great holiday.
Second question is when will I need to prove that I have had two doses that I am vaccinated against COVID-19? It’s really going to depend in where Australia you are on when and how you need to prove your vaccine status. The states and and territories have very clear instructions about what’s required on their websites. Most of them have a telephone number you can also call, so they will help guide you about the requirements of where you are going. Remember, being vaccinated protects you from the possibility of severe disease, hospitalisation and protects others as well. You can see your vaccination certificate in your Medicare account. Through Express Plus Medicare app or myGov. You need to link your myGov account to Medicare. You can also save a digital certificate on Apple wallet or Google Pay. Whichever one suits you or also your digital certificate is available in my My Health Record. There are ways to get proof of your vaccination status even if you don’t have a Medicare card. If this all sounds too complicated go to Services Australia where they’ve got information in step by step form and in multiple languages. It will help you navigate how to get your vaccine status certificate and evidence of your vaccine status. Importantly, fully vaccinated is two doses of an approved vaccine in Australia, two doses.
Third question, what should I ask my GP if I’m unsure if I need a booster? If you have any concern about getting a booster vaccine talk to a health professional, general practitioner, pharmacist, about your concerns and when and if you are eligible now for your booster vaccine. A booster is given six months after your second dose and it will help make sure you continue to be protected from COVID-19. It boosts your immune system and helps the longevity of that protection. You’re eligible for a COVID-19 booster if you’re 18 years and over or as I say it’s more than six months since your second dose of your vaccine. The booster dose may be a different brand of vaccine from your first two doses and that’s fine. This is now approved for the booster program and that’s very safe. As previously with the COVID-19 vaccines, the booster is free for everyone and as I say six months after your second dose. By getting it will make sure people have got ongoing protection against COVID-19 and that’s got longer lasting protection and prevents the spread of the virus.
Thank you very much for your time today and I hope this information has been helpful to you.
- If I’m travelling over the holiday period, what should I consider to stay COVID Safe?
- When will I need to prove that I am vaccinated against COVID-19?
- What should I ask my GP if I’m unsure if I need a booster?