COVID-19 transmission in the community remains high, with the number of daily cases increasing due to the ongoing transmission of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-lineages.
Case numbers are expected to continue to rise in the proceeding weeks as these sub-lineages become the dominant strains circulating in NSW. Ensuring that people have received their COVID-19 booster vaccines and facilitating the timely administration of antiviral medication to those eligible is vital to support the community.
The two PBS listed oral antiviral medications available in Australia for the treatment of COVID-19, Molnupiravir and Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir have similar eligibility criteria.
Those who are eligible for antivirals include:
- Everyone aged over 70
- People aged 50 years and older with two or more risk factors for severe disease
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged 30 years and older with two or more risk factors for severe illness
- Immunocompromised people over 18 may also be eligible.
Patients who fit the above criteria should be encouraged discuss their possible eligibility with their doctor. With increasing case numbers and expanded eligibility criteria, pharmacists can expect an increasing need to supply greater volumes of COVID-19 antivirals over the coming weeks, noting that timely administration will give the greatest benefit to the community.
Influenza vaccine update
The free flu shot program for all has now concluded.
Pharmacists can still administer flu vaccines to children aged 5 and over, and children under 5 should be directed to see their GP.
If you can provide easy access to the flu vaccine for any members of the public who visit or book an appointment at your pharmacy it would be appreciated.
For more information including in-language resources, visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/health/influenza