2022 Flu Vaccine Now Available

The 2022 Flu vaccine is now available at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre.

  • The Department of Health recommends everyone over the age of 6 months has the Flu vaccine every year.
  • Free government supplied Flu vaccines under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) are now available, subject to supply.
  • People not eligible under the NIP can purchase a private Flu vaccine at our medical centre for $15. No prescription is required.
  • Appointments for a Flu vaccine are required.  Standard consultation and vaccine administration fees with our Nurse or GP may also apply.
  • Call the medical centre on tel (03) 9629 1414  to discuss your Flu vaccine options.

Flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccination:
ATAGI has advised that the Flu vaccine can be co-administered (that is, given on the same day) with a COVID-19 vaccine – this includes COVID-19 booster vaccines.

Children and the Flu vaccine:
Children aged 6 months to < 5 years old can only receive Vaxigrip Tetra® or Fluarix Tetra® branded Flu vaccine which is funded under the NIP for this age group.*

Children < 9 years old receiving their Flu vaccine for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.

Adults aged 65 years and over:
Adjuvanted Flu vaccines are recommended over the standard Flu vaccine for this age group.  The adjuvanted Flu vaccine called Fluad Quad® is funded under the NIP for this age group.** 

Timing of the Flu vaccine:
The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. Annual vaccination should ideally occur before the onset of each influenza season. This is usually from June to September in most parts of Australia but may be atypical this year.  Vaccinating from April 2022 provides protection before the peak season. 

People with allergies:
Egg allergy is not a contraindication to receiving the Flu vaccine.  As the egg based Flu vaccines under the NIP only contains minute traces of egg protein, people with an egg allergy, including a history of anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with the Flu vaccine.  If you have an egg allergy, please discuss this with your immunisation provider, as you will require a longer post-vaccination observation period at the medical centre.

All Flu vaccines available under the NIP in 2022 are latex free.  People with a latex allergy can safely be vaccinated with Flu vaccines that are available under the NIP.

People should not receive the Flu vaccine if they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any Flu vaccine or anaphylaxis after any component of a Flu vaccine.

Eligibility for a free Flu vaccines through the NIP:
Eligibility for a free government supplied Flu vaccine under the NIP in 2022 includes the following groups of people:

  • Children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age*
  • Adults aged 65 years and over **
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
  • People aged 6 months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease:
    • cardiac disease
    • chronic respiratory conditions
    • chronic neurological conditions
    • immunocompromising conditions
    • diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • renal disease
    • haematological disorders
    • children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy

Call the medical centre on tel (03) 9629 1414  to discuss your Flu vaccine options.

Please download and read the Pre-immunisation Checklist before your Flu vaccine appointment.

s100 HIV prescribers now available @ VHMC

GPs Dr Christopher Kearney, Dr Damien Polioudakis and Dr Tim Johnston are accredited s100 HIV community prescribers. 

This means they are GPs authorised to prescribe highly specialised HIV medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART) and have advanced training and experience in providing care to people at risk of HIV or people living with HIV (PLHIV).  They maintain close links with local specialist and HIV services in Melbourne and participate in regular continuing professional development activities and education.

HIV is now considered a manageable chronic condition requiring lifelong treatment.  HIV treatments have changed dramatically over the years and can now offer PLHIV a long and healthy life.  s100 GPs play a vital role in primary and preventative health care for PLHIV.

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is an inclusive health service and our GPs are committed to providing a comprehensive and confidential medical service.

We also provide PrEP and PEP consultations on an appointment system.  PrEP can be prescribed by any GP.  PEP consultations can only be provided by s100 GPs.  Do not book an online appointment for a PEP consultation.  If you think you need PEP please call and let us know you need a PEP appointment and we will always try and prioritise you or recommend referral to another PEP service.

As we a private billing medical centre, standard consultation fees apply for all services.

If you would like to transfer your HIV care to one of our s100 GPs please book a long (30 minute) appointment.

For further information about this service click here.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

UPDATED: 30 March 2022

Our Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinic is currently closed.

For information about how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at an alternative location refer to the Department of Health website.

We are a Pfizer COVID-19 GP Vaccination Clinic for eligible Medicare card holders.
Book your appointment online or call us on (03) 9629 1414.

Bulk Billed  *  By appointment only  *  No walk-ins

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is an approved Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 general practice vaccination clinic for eligible Medicare card holders.  We are an inclusive medical service and proudly support the health care needs of the LGBTIQA+ community. 

We no longer offer the AstraZeneca (Vaxzervia) COVID-19 vaccine.  We do not offer the Moderna (Spikevax) or Novavax (Nuvaxovid) COVID-19 vaccine. 

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appointments now available to:

  • Anyone > 12 years old
  • Children aged 5-11 years old
  • Booster doses for anyone > 18 year old
  • Booster doses for adolescents aged 16-17 years old
  • Third (primary) and fourth (booster) doses for immunocompromised people (>12 years old)
  • Third primary dose for immunocompromised children (5-11 years old)
  • Winter booster dose for select population groups
Please Note: Only one parent/guardian permitted to attend our vaccination clinic to accompany a young person aged 5-17 years old.

Recommended Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose interval (updated 25/02/2022):

  • Dose 2 (>12 years old):
    • 3 weeks after Dose 1.
  • Dose 2 (5-11 years old):
    • 8 weeks after Dose 1.*
  • Dose 3 “Booster” (>16 years old):
    • 3 months after Dose 2.
  • Third primary dose for immunocompromised people (>12 years old):
    • 2 months after Dose 2.**
  • Third primary dose for immunocompromised children (5-11 years old):
    • 2 to 6 months after Dose 2.***
  • Fourth (booster) dose for immunocompromised people (>12 years old):
    • 4 months after Dose 3.
  • Winter booster (fourth) dose for select population groups from 01/04/22 ****
    • 4 months after Dose 3.

You need your third dose to keep up your immunity against COVID-19.  Your vaccinator will exercise discretion in determining what dose interval to use (in line with Department of Health guidelines). Call our medical centre for all enquires on (03) 9629 1414.

Paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years old:

  • Click here to view ATAGI and Department of Health recommendations.
  • The recommended dose for this age group is 10µg (0.2mL),  a third of the recommended 30µg dose for people aged  > 12 years old.  
  • * The primary course is 2 doses, with an interval of 8 weeks – the interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances. ATAGI advises that the dose interval for children at higher risk of COVID-19 (such as those with underlying medical conditions) can be shortened from 8 weeks to 3 weeks in the context of ongoing community transmission. This includes, but is not limited to, conditions outlined in Table 1 of this ATAGI statement.
  • Children who turn 12 after Dose 1 can receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course.
  • The paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines.

Pfizer Booster (Third) doses:

  • Click here to view ATAGI and Department of Health advice about booster doses.
  • Click here to view the Victorian Department of Health recommendations about booster doses.
  • You can also get a booster dose if you have completed an initial COVID-19 vaccination course overseas with a COVID-19 vaccine recognised by the TGA.

Third (primary) and fourth (booster) doses for immunocompromised people > 12 years old:

  • Eligibility criteria apply.
  • Click here to view ATAGI recommendations.
  • Third primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are severely immunocompromised are provided as part of the primary course, they are not boosters. 
  • Third primary doses are different to booster doses because they are given to those who are immune suppressed so they can have the same level of protection as the general population. 
  • **ATAGI recommends the interval for the third dose is 2 to 6 months after Dose 2 of the vaccine – a minimum interval of 4 weeks may be considered in exceptional circumstances (eg: outbreaks, anticipated intensification of immunosuppression).
  • Fourth (booster) doses for people with severe immunocompromise are now recommended and should be given four months after the third primary dose in line with the timing for the general population.

Third (primary) dose for immunocompromised children 5-11 years old:

  • Click here to view ATAGI recommendations.
  • *** ATAGI recommends severely immunocompromised children aged 5-11 years old are now recommended to receive a third primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 2 to 6 months after their second dose (in line with other severely immunocompromised age cohorts).

**** Winter booster (fourth) dose for select population groups from 01/04/22: 

  • Click here to view ATAGI recommendations.
  • Recommended for the following population groups only:
    • Adults > 65 years old;
    • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities;
    • Those aged > 16 years old with severe immunocompromise; and
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged > 50 years old.
  • This additional winter booster dose can be given from > 4 months after a first booster dose, or from 4 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, if infection occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.

DOT attend our vaccination clinic if:

If you have a booked appointment and you are unwell please advise us  and DO NOT attend the vaccination clinic. Even if you have mild symptoms you should get a COVID-19 test and isolate until you have a negative result.

Prizer COVID-19 vaccine Consumer Medicine Information (CMI):

  • Click here to learn more about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Click here for TGA CMI Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine handout.

How to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Click here to find out how to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination and view your COVID-19 digital certificate.
  • You can also refer to this RACGP Fact Sheet.

Other information:

  • Click here for digital information from the Department of Health.
  • Call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline on tel 1800 675 398
While the Australian Government strongly supports vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate. CoRiCal is a vaccine risk calculator tool which aims to help people make informed decisions about the risks versus benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. Please discuss with your GP.

Our COVID-19 vaccination clinic is currently closed. For information about how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at an alternative location refer to the Department of Health website.

For Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine bookings (aged >12 years old):

For Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine bookings (aged 5-11 years old):

Note: Only one parent/guardian permitted to attend our vaccination clinic to accompany a young person aged 5-17 years old.

DO NOT attend our vaccination clinic if:

If you have a booked appointment and you are unwell please advise us  and DO NOT attend the vaccination clinic. Even if you have slight symptoms you should get a COVID-19 test and isolate until you have a negative result.

Anyone who presents for vaccination must provide informed consent.

Please download and bring your COVID-19 vaccine consent form to your appointment:

For young people aged 12-17 years old consent may be established by:

For children aged 5-11 years old click here for information on the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here to check your eligibility online.

The following people are now eligible to receive the Pfizer (Comiranty) COVID-19 vaccine at our medical centre:

  • Anyone > 12 years old
  • Children aged 5-11 years old
  • Booster doses for anyone > 18 year old
  • Booster doses for adolescents aged 16-17 years old
  • Third (primary) and fourth (booster) doses for immunocompromised people (>12 years old)
  • Third primary dose for immunocompromised children (5-11 years old)

We no longer offer the AstraZeneca (Vaxzervia) COVID-19 vaccine.  We do not offer the Moderna (Spikevax) or Novavax (Nuvaxovid) COVID-19 vaccine. 

Refer to the Department of Health for an AstraZeneca (Vaxzervia) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

By appointment only based on vaccine stock availability.

  • Bulk Billed
  • No walk-ins
  • Eligible Medicare card holders only

Please download and bring your COVID-19 vaccine consent form to your appointment:

If you are new to our medical centre and attend for a COVID-19 vaccination, you may need to provide evidence of your eligibility (eg: medical history, occupation, age) before you can receive your COVID-19 vaccine.  This evidence can be an identification card, proof of current employment, a letter from your usual doctor, or by ensuring your My Health Record contains a current Shared Health Summary which we can access during your consultation.

DO NOT attend our vaccination clinic if:

If you have a booked appointment and you are unwell please advise us  and DO NOT attend the vaccination clinic. Even if you have mild symptoms you should get a COVID-19 test and isolate until you have a negative result.

Click here to find out how to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination and view your COVID-19 digital certificate.  You can also refer to this RACGP Fact Sheet.

Due to the Australian Government current funding model, people who are not eligible for Medicare will be unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through community general practice clinics including Victoria Harbour Medical Centre.  This means vaccine access for non-Medicare card holders can only be delivered by:

For all enquires call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline on 1800 675 398.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine has been translated into multiple languages.  To find information in your language:

Australian Department of Health website click here.

Victorian Department of Health website click here.

The Australian Department of Health has updated the COVID-19 vaccination decision-making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) have provided updated advice from 18th August 2021 about the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant and breastfeeding Women and those planning pregnancy.

Key points:

  • Pregnant women are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Pregnant women should be routinely offered the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy. 
  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Spikevax (Moderna) are mRNA vaccines
  • Women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination. 
  • There is no evidence of increased risk of miscarriage or teratogenic risk with mRNA or viral vector vaccines.
  • Global evidence has shown that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women. 
  • Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 
  • Their babies also have a higher risk of being born prematurely. 
  • COVID-19 vaccination may provide indirect protection to babies by transferring antibodies through the placenta (for pregnant women) or through breastmilk (for breastfeeding women).

Women who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and are pregnant can receive either Dose 2 of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, although the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is preferred.  Pregnant women should speak with their health care provider about the best choice for them. 

In summary:

  • Pregnant women are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination, and should be routinely offered the Pfizer (Cominarty) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for breastfeeding women –  either Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine is considered safe during breastfeeding.

Medical advice for adults < 60 years old and the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine:  On 17/06/2021 the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for adults aged < 60 years old.  This revised age recommendation is because of a higher risk of an extremely rare but serious side effect involving thrombosis (blood clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) called TTS following the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in those aged < 60 years old.  The individual benefit-to-risk balance of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine varies with age.  The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine remains a safe and  highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who have contracted COVID-19. 

People who have already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with no major adverse reaction are strongly encouraged to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as planned, including if they are < 60 years old.

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre has published this video that also helps to clearly explain TTS.

Medical advice for adults 18-59 years old and the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine:  On 29/06/2021 the Australian Department of Health advised the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can now be requested by adults aged 18-59 years old if they are unable to access a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  It is important consumers weigh up the potential benefits and risk of harm from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that they make a fully informed decision about receiving the vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the new ATAGI advice?  ATAGI have reviewed their advice on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. They recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the preferred vaccine for people aged under 60 years.  This doesn’t change who is currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, but it means if you are under 60 years old it is now preferred you get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Why has the advice changed?  ATAGI have made this recommendation because of new evidence that shows the risk of thrombosis (blood clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) or TTS (which is a rare blood clotting syndrome) following the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in those aged < 60 years old is higher than initially thought.

I’ve had my first dose of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine, should I get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for my second dose?  No, this isn’t necessary. If you have had your first AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dose without any serious side effects, you can receive your second dose as planned.  To ensure maximum long term immunity, it is important you receive two doses of the same COVID-19 vaccine.

I’ve had my first dose of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine and have side effects that I am worried about. What should I do?  Discuss with your doctor or present to you local emergency department if you have recently had your first vaccine dose and are experiencing any side effects that you are worried about.  

I am 60 years or over, is the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine still safe for me?  Yes, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is still safe for you.  The risk of thrombosis (blood clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) or TTS (which is a rare blood clotting syndrome), is much lower in people aged 60 years and over.  Additionally, if you are aged 60 and over, you are much more likely to become seriously unwell if you catch COVID-19.  The individual benefit-to-risk balance of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine varies with age. This balance is based on factors including the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age and the potential lower risk of this very rare, but serious, adverse event with increasing age.   ATAGI has recommended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine remains safe to be given to people aged > 60 years old.

I am under 60 years old and I am fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine, do I have to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now?  If you have received both doses of the vaccine you do not need to get vaccinated with any other COVID-19 vaccine.

Name change: Why is the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine now called Vaxzevria?  The name is now consistent with that used overseas, including in the European Union and Canada.  This is expected to alleviate confusion and further clarify that the vaccine produced by CSL and Seqirus in Melbourne is the same as that produced internationally.  This name change will also help facilitate international recognition for Australians who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.  Importantly, this is the only change to the vaccine.  All other aspects, such as manufacturing and quality control, are unchanged and align with the way the vaccine is produced in other jurisdictions.

Change in AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine dose interval from 02/09/2021:

  • The recommended minimum interval between first and second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will change to 6 weeks. Previously the recommended minimum interval was 12 weeks.
  • This change is consistent with advice from ATAGI.
  • This change is being made because of the current epidemiological conditions including community transmission of COVID-19.
  • Reducing the interval between doses will mean more Victorians are fully vaccinated with two doses as soon as possible.  
  • People can elect to change their vaccine appointment for their second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • No existing second dose bookings at our medical centres will be proactively changed.
  • Your vaccinator may exercise their discretion in determining what dose interval to use (in line with ATAGI guidelines).

Click here for more information about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here for more information on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

What is the ATAGI advice on COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15? The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in people aged 12-15 years.  The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided updated advice on eligibility criteria for vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12-15.  The Australian Government has accepted this advice.

When can eligible children start getting vaccinated?  All other children aged 12-15 years old will be eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from 13th September 2021.

Can eligible children receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre?  Yes.  Book your appointment with us online or call us on (03) 9629 1414.  Only one parent/guardian may attend our vaccination clinic with a young person aged 12-17 years old.

Where else can eligible children get their vaccination?  Parents/guardians can book a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for their child/children at:

  • state and territory-operated Pfizer clinics
  • participating general practices offering Pfizer
  • Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics offering Pfizer
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services offering Pfizer

You can make a booking by completing the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Information about consent for vaccination:

  • Anyone who presents for vaccination must provide informed consent
  • Consent can be provided verbally or by completing this written consent form
  • Consent for young people aged 12-17 years may be established by:
    • A  parent/guardian attending the vaccine appointment with the young person and provide consent for them
    • An unaccompanied young person may provide their own consent (mature minor) if deemed to be ‘Gillick competent’

More information is available on the Department of Health website.

Refer also to NCIRS COVID-19 and children FAQs.

ATAGI and the Department of Health have now recommended a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here for more information.

ATAGI has updated its advice on the use of a different COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose in special circumstances.

ATAGI recommends that, if available, the same COVID-19 vaccine brand should be used for the two doses of the primary vaccination course.

While it is preferable to use the same brand for both doses of the primary course, an alternative brand can be used for the second dose in select circumstances including if a patient is unable to access or is not accepting of a second dose of the same brand.

There is emerging data supporting the safety and efficacy of mixed brand schedules.

Click here for more information.

Following TGA approval of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine for children aged 5-11 years old, ATAGI has provided advice on administering vaccines to this age group.

  • The roll-out to this age group will commence from 10th January 2022.
  • Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use in this age group.
  • The recommended dose for this age group is 10µg  (0.2mL), a third of the recommended 30µg dose for people aged >12 years old.
  • Children who turn 12 after Dose 1 can receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course.
  • The primary course is 2 doses, with an interval of 8 weeks – the interval can be shorted to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances.

Click here for more information.

Click here for updated information on the Omicron variant and the timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Click here to view updated Department of Health recommendations.

Click on this link for further information about ATAGI’s expanded guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Department of Health also provides additional clinical considerations for COVID-19 vaccination. Click here for more information.

From 01/04/2022 ATAGI and the Department of Health have recommended a second booster COVID-19 vaccine dose for the following groups:

  • Adults > 65 years old
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • Those aged > 16 years old with severe immunocompromise
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged > 50 years old

For people in those categories who have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection after receiving a first booster dose, the follow-up booster is recommended with a gap of four months after infection.

Click here for more information.

COVID-19 Testing & Managing COVID-19 @ Home

UPDATED: 06/05/2022

Click here for the latest clinic news about COVID-19 and our COVIDSafe plan on our website.

Key points:

  • If you have mild or no symptoms you do not need to call your GP
  • Call your GP or Nurse On-Call (1300 606 024) if your symptoms worsen
  • Be specific about the urgency of the care you need and book a Telehealth appointment with your GP if it’s not urgent
  • Always call 000 in an emergency and request an ambulance

Click here for a Department of Health fact sheet on what to expect when you have COVID-19.  This is also available in more than 60 languages for COVID positive people isolating at home.

Who should get a rapid antigen test (RAT)?

  • Your should get a RAT as your first option if you have symptoms or are a contact of someone who has COVID-19.
  • If you have symptoms or are a contact but your can’t access a RAT, you can get a standard PCR test.
  • If you can’t access either test at the moment, isolate at home until you can.

When should you get a standard PCR test?

  • If you have symptoms or are a contact of someone who has COVID-19, and your can’t access a RAT, you can get a PCR test.
  • If you don’t have symptoms and you’re not a COVID-19 contact, but test positive on a RAT, the recommendation is to get a PCR test to confirm the result. This is not recommended if you have symptoms or you are a COVID-19 contact.
  • If you can’t access either test at the moment, isolate at home until you can.

Where can a RAT be obtained?

  • RATs can be purchased from supermarkets, pharmacies or online from selected suppliers.
  • The Victorian Government is also in the process of purchasing additional RATs, which will be made available free of charge in the coming weeks.

Report a positive result on a rapid antigen test (RAT):

If you test positive using a RAT you are officially a COVID-19 case and you must self report your result to the Department of Health online via this link or by calling 1300 651 160 (or the Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398).

  • You only need to self-report if you test positive from a RAT.
  • You don’t need to report your result if you tested positive from a PCR test.
  • You must isolate for 7 days from the date you got your positive RAT or PCR test result.
  • Don’t get another test if you have already tested positive. You don’t need it. You are automatically released after 7 days of isolation.

COVID-19 contacts

There are different types of COVID-19 contacts and different rules apply.  Make sure you follow the right advice for your situation.

Click here for more information.

Managing Covid-19 @ Home:

Most people recover well from COVID-19. However, if you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test and you’re isolating at home, it’s important to protect those around you and monitor your symptoms.

COVID-19 Vaccines:

Click here for information about how to access COVID-19 vaccinations.

Face Masks:

Click here for information about face masks.

As a condition of entry those >8 years old must still wear a face mask at our medical centre.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19:

If you think you have COVID-19 or you have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 first make a Telehealth appointment with one of our GPs to find out how to get tested.

COVID-19 testing is recommended if you feel unwell with the following symptoms:

  • fever, chills or sweats
  • cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose
  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste

If you have any of the symptoms, however mild, STAY HOME and seek advice from your GP by a Telehealth phone consultation first to find out how to get tested

What if I am a patient at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre?:

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all patients and staff.  We are here to help and have temporarily changed our service model to better manage your healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whether you are worried about symptoms of COVID-19 or any other type of health problem, our GPs are still on hand to help.  We encourage you to continue consulting your regular GP for any health matter.

Safe in-person face-to-face consultations or Telehealth appointments are available.  You can make an appointment with us online or by calling the medical centre on (03) 9629 1414.  Screening questions will be asked when you book or attend an appointment.  You will always be informed of your options when you make an appointment.

We remain open for your health needs but as conditions of entry, all patients and visitors must:

  • wear a face mask (those > 8 years old)
  • perform hand hygiene upon entry/exit
  • observe all patient alert signage and posted placards
  • answer pre-entry screening questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge

If you need urgent medical care always call emergency 000 (triple zero).

If you are seeking information on COVID-19 call the Coronavirus Hotline:

Both hotlines operate 24/7 and will connect you to a registered nurse if needed.

For digital resources and daily health alerts about COVID-19 refer to:

Click here for the Department of Health COVID-19 Home Safety Plan – this guide will help keep you, your family and friends safe and well.

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.

Changes to Telehealth Fees

This service is not for emergency care.  For urgent medical care call emergency 000 (Triple Zero) or go to an emergency department at a hospital.

Telehealth phone appointments with our GPs are still available. We do not currently offer Telehealth video appointments.

You can book a Telehealth phone consultation online or by calling our reception team on (03) 9629 1414.

Telehealth was introduced in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Restricted Telehealth phone services will become a permanent feature of the healthcare system from 13th December 2021.  Telehealth consultations will continue to help our regular patients access non-urgent but essential healthcare from their home. This will support public health policies to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread.

Telehealth at Victoria Harbour Medical Centre:

  • 15-minute phone consultations with your GP by appointment
  • Phone calls from your GP may come from a Private Number (No Caller ID)
  • Your GP will call you as close as possible to your Telehealth appointment time
  • Your consent and identity will be confirmed by your GP before your consultation begins
  • Ensure your phone is charged and that you’re available to take the call in a quiet and private place
  • Your GP will discuss with you the most appropriate course of care and if a clinical in-person face-to-face appointment at the medical centre is needed

Common conditions appropriate for a Telehealth consultation:

  • COVID-19 related health questions
  • COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessments
  • Non-life threatening respiratory illness
  • Referral letters
  • Medical certificates
  • Discussing test results
  • Repeat prescription medication*
  • Repeat pathology investigation requests
  • Minor illness which can be managed at home
  • Nicotine and smoking cessation consultations
  • Routine PrEP and asymptomatic STI screening
  • Blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health consultations
  • Pregnancy Support Counselling
  • Mental health consultations and review of Mental Health Care Plans**
  • Management of chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, COPD, blood pressure and heart disease

* This does not include restricted Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 (Controlled Drug) prescription medications and other Drugs of Dependence.  If you are a Medicare card holder Electronic Prescriptions are now available.

** Mental Health Care Plans (new) require a face-to-face appointment with your GP.

Fees:

Our medical centre charges a co-payment (out of pocket) fee for all Telehealth services. Refer to our Patient Information section on our website for a list of our Telehealth fee schedule.  Telehealth attracts a Medicare rebate only if you’ve had a face-to-face consultation with any of our GPs at our medical centre within the last 12-months.  If you don’t fit this Medicare criteria, a private non-refundable fee will apply.  This means there is no Medicare rebate.  This Medicare rule currently does not apply to:

  • Infants < 12 months old
  • People who are homeless
  • People who are living in a COVID-19 impacted area
  • Blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health consultations
  • Pregnancy support counselling consultations

From the 1st January 2022 the Medicare rule will also not apply to:

  • People isolating or in quarantine due to COVID-19 public health orders
  • Blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health consultations (ends 30th June 2023)
  • Pregnancy support counselling consultations (ends 30th June 2023)
  • People accessing nicotine and smoking cessation services (ends 31st December 2023)

For more information:

Refer to this Department of Health Telehealth Fact Sheet or the RACGP Fact Sheet about Telehealth.

For 24/7 telephone support about COVID-19 call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.

Looking After Your Mental Health

It’s important to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We recognise the feelings of anxiety and concerns many people may be experiencing during this time, especially for those in lockdown, self-isolation or quarantine.

There are a number of ways to support your mental health during this period:

  • Book a Telehealth phone consultation with your GP for a chat.
  • Seek professional support from a counsellor/psychologist early if you’re having difficulties*.
  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting COVID-19.
  • Routines sound dull, but they’re good for our mental health. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, and change your clothes. This will help you to manage your days and adjust when life starts to go back to normal.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Manage your stress levels, and if needed, increase your coping strategies (for example, listening to music, watching your favourite shows, meditation or exercise).
  • Keep taking your medication. Phone your GP or pharmacist to find out how to get any new prescriptions you may need. If you’re staying at home and that’s disrupting your routine, set reminders to take your medicine when you need to.
  • For those already managing mental health issues, continue to take any prescribed medication, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.

* The Australian Government will now provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions under a GP Mental Health Care Plan for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.

There are plenty of ways to support other people, or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain.

Where to go for help:

If you are experiencing an emergency always call 000.

HeadtoHelp 1800 595 212

  • Telephone support service for Victorians to help you find the best mental health support. This is not a crisis service.

Victorian Department of Health

  • COVID-19 related mental health support services. This is not a crisis service.

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

  • 24/7 crisis support service for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

  • 24/7 mental health support crisis call back service.

Care in Mind 1300 096 269

  • 24/7 free online and phone counselling for people living, working, or studying in Melbourne’s northern, central and western suburbs. This is not a crisis service.

Beyond Blue 1800 512 348

  • Coronavirus mental wellbeing support service. This is not a crisis service.

SANE 1800 18 7263

  • Services to help support those affected by complex mental health issues. This is not a crisis service.

Eheadspace 1800 650 893

  • Online and webchat support and counselling for 12-25 year olds, their family and friends. This is not a crisis service.

Mindspot 1800 61 44 34

  • Free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. This is not a crisis service.

Brother to Brother 1800 435 799

  • 24/7 new crisis line for Aboriginal men has been set up to provide extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The line is staffed by Aboriginal men, including elders, to promote a culturally-safe service.

For youth focused mental health and support services:

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Headspace 1800 650 890

ReachOut

Orygen Digital – Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST)

For specialist areas:

Safe Steps 1800 015 188

  • 24/7 Victorian family violence support service.

1800Respect 1800 737 732

  • 24/7 confidential counselling, information and support for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse via phone or online chat. 

Directline 1800 888 236

  • 24/7 confidential alcohol and drug counselling and referral service. This is not a crisis service.

Gambler’s Help 1800 858 858

  • 24/7 free confidential online, telephone and face-to-face counselling, advice and information about gambling harm. This is not a crisis service.

MensLine 1300 78 99 78

  • 24/7 professional telephone and online support and information service for men. This is not a crisis service.

Switchboard Victoria 1800 184 527

  • Phone and web counselling, information and referral service for LGBTQI people. Web counselling through QLife Webchat. This is not a crisis service.

Head to Health

  • Digital mental health resource to support you through COVID-19. This is not a crisis service.

THIS WAY UP

  • Free online tools, practical tips and strategies to support your emotional well-being. This is not a crisis service.

Phoenix Australia

  • Useful resources to support health practitioners and community members during COVID-19. This is not a crisis service.

For multilingual mental health resources:

Beyond Blue

  • Coronavirus translated mental wellbeing support service. This is not a crisis service.

Transcultural Mental Health Centre Resources

  • Several resources in multiple languages about wellbeing, stress and coping with disaster. This is not a crisis service.

Translating or interpreting:

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for COVID-19 translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.

Face Masks Update

You are required to wear a face mask when attending the medical centre

Reviewed 05 March 2022.

As a condition of entry in to our medical centre those >8 years old must wear a face mask.

Click here for updated Department of Health information about wearing face masks in Victoria.

A face mask must be a cloth mask or a single-use (surgical) mask. 

Face shields, bandanas, scarves or loose snoods, loose buffs or loose gaiters on their own are not considered a sufficient face covering.  A face covering must be a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

If you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested then stay home until you receive your result.

For digital resources about COVID-19 and the use of face masks refer to:

For 24/7 telephone support about COVID-19 call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.

Click here for the latest clinic news about COVID-19 on our website.

Electronic Prescriptions

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is now electronic prescription enabled.

Click here to read the RACGP fact sheet about electronic prescriptions.

An electronic prescription is an alternative to a paper prescription. If you are registered with Medicare or DVA, your GP will now be able to deliver an electronic prescription to your mobile phone via SMS or to your email.  You will receive a unique QR barcode known as a token.  A token is not a legal prescription, but it can be used by an authorised dispensing pharmacy to unlock the legal prescription. All you need to do is show your token to be scanned at your pharmacy. The pharmacy will then access your electronic prescription and dispense your medicine.  Electronic prescriptions are not mandatory.  You still have choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from your GP (but not both).  Electronic prescriptions comply with all relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory privacy, digital security and legislation requirements.

Your GP can send you the electronic prescription token via SMS or email. You can also ask your GP to print out your token for you.  You will receive one token for each medicine you’re prescribed.

Yes. If your GP has prescribed any repeats for your prescription, you’ll receive a new token from the pharmacy when the medicine is dispensed. Use that new token to get your repeat prescription.

Yes. Paper prescriptions will continue to be an option if that’s your preference. However, you can’t have both a paper prescription and an electronic prescription for the same medicine. The prescription will stay in the same form until it expires. Repeats for a paper prescriptions cannot be converted to tokens.

Yes. You will always be able to choose which pharmacy you prefer to fill your prescription. Not all pharmacies accept electronic prescriptions at this time, so make sure you check with your pharmacy if they’re ready to accept electronic prescriptions.

Yes. Just like a paper prescription, you can give your token to a family member or other person to take to the pharmacy and pick up your medicines for you. You’ll need to forward the token to their mobile or email. You can also forward your token direct to your pharmacy, and the pharmacy may be able to home deliver your medicines. Contact your pharmacy to see if they offer this service.

Contact your GP if you lose your token. Your GP will need to issue you a new token.

If you lose your repeat token, contact your pharmacy to have your token reissued.

Ranitidine (Zantac) Recall

The TGA has recently announced a recall of several Ranitidine containing products from the Australian market.

Ranitidine, which is marketed in Australia under the brand name Zantac and various generic brands, is a tablet or liquid used to reduce stomach acid.  Ranitidine is commonly prescribed to treat heartburn, reflux and stomach ulcers.  This medication may have been prescribed by your GP, but it can also be purchased without a prescription from pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers.

The TGA has advised that there is no immediate health risk associated with Ranitidine as the risks are associated with long-term use with this medication.  However, people who use Ranitidine may need to switch to alternative therapies.

If you have been prescribed or are taking Ranitidine please make an appointment with one of our GPs for a clinical review to discuss how your medication fit in with your treatment plan.  Consultation fees apply.

Further information about this recall can found at the TGA website: https://www.tga.gov.au/alert/ranitidine