Nursing Review Issue 3 May-June 2022 - Page 27

clinical practice those people who are not in the high-risk categories , just because that keeps the circulation of the virus a bit lower and gives us a stronger force shield against the current Omicron variant .
clinical practice those people who are not in the high-risk categories , just because that keeps the circulation of the virus a bit lower and gives us a stronger force shield against the current Omicron variant .
Our wastage is sitting at around 10 per cent of vaccine doses , which is disappointing . But again , on clarifying with the Vaccine Operations Centre , there ’ s no benchmark for this , but around about 15 per cent of wastage is expected when vaccine programs are rolled out in campaign mode , when there ’ s a high degree of advertising , and around about 40 per cent of wastage is expected in a routine context .
While 10 per cent is a significant number and it ’ s disappointing we can ’ t give it to people in need , certainly , it ’ s been calibrated into part of the vaccine rollout and well-known in international literature .
We ’ re doing okay . We can always do better , as we know , but multi-dose vials present their own challenges , and also expiry dates and logistical transport makes some of that a challenge .
A lot of low-income countries still have a low vaccination rate , such as Papua New Guinea . How is this possible ? I did talk with one of the senior chief medical officers regarding Papua New Guinea , and there ’ s a lot of challenges regarding language , distrust of white person ’ s medicine , and collating people together . We know as doctors and nurses there ’ s a lot of social and psychological issues to get through in administering a vaccination campaign . It ’ s very evident in places like Papua New Guinea that those social , emotional and cultural factors are fairly high in terms of challenging our ability to vaccinate that population .
Do you know how this has affected the nurses and GPs working in underdeveloped countries ? Doctors and nurses are fatigued . They ’ ve had such a challenging time over the last two years and continue to be faced with very challenging situations with patients and politicisation of the pandemic , as well as facing their own issues with protective equipment and available resources .
I imagine in low-income countries there ’ s an even greater challenge morally and ethically about how this is rolling out for their communities , and also their own families and for themselves . We have effects on us as healthcare providers , which are as yet unknown and unquantified , but there ’ s certainly some people who are going to investigate that effect and impact upon healthcare workers more broadly : about how this pandemic has affected them , both psychologically and obviously physically and materially .
What important role do GPs and nurses play in general in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations ? General practice teams have been absolutely fabulous . I know at my practice , the nurses have been instrumental with our practice managers in setting up the clinics and basically running them with support from the GPs themselves . And that collaborative environment is one I hope that nurses value as much as doctors . We really enjoy working with our nursing staff and working together as a team .
In terms of how we ’ ve impacted Australia , we ’ ve done an enormous job . We ’ ve done so much heavy lifting in this space . And even though general practice had less access to protective personal equipment in terms of government supplies , we still stepped up and did the majority of the community vaccination .
I think much of Australia ’ s success in being able to open up and economically get back , and the impact on our children of being able to send them back to school : there are many great outcomes we ’ ve seen due to the fact that general practice teams , nurses and doctors have worked together really hard , under really difficult circumstances to deliver what was needed as a public health response in Australia .
What do you recommend for the future regarding COVID-19 vaccination plans ? I think it ’ s going to be interesting to see whether or not there ’ ll be further doses beyond the third booster for most people who are not in high-risk categories . It remains an open question . We ’ ve also got the possibility of getting other variants and we still don ’ t yet know what that might mean . It might be a less severe one , but there ’ s no guarantee .
We ’ ve seen recurrent infections , where people who ’ ve had COVID are getting it again . And we ’ ve seen also the potential impacts of long COVID . So , there ’ s a lot still to be worked out through research and evaluating the statistics on the impacts of this pandemic . And then there ’ s the collateral impacts of the chronic disease , mental health and so forth . There ’ s still a lot to go on .
“ Social , emotional and cultural factors are fairly high in terms of challenging our ability to vaccinate .
In terms of more vaccinations , there may well be second and thirdgeneration vaccines coming . There is nothing particularly showing up on the horizon just yet , but I know there ’ s lots of researchers and hundreds of labs working very hard to try and develop a vaccine that might deliver that magic , really convincing immunity .
I know Professor John Skerritt at the TGA said , ‘ Look , the magic vaccine that gives you one shot and then you ’ re immune for life is really not on the cards .’ It ’ s very rare for any vaccine against an infectious disease .
It looks like we may all be considering further vaccines going forward in the next few years or so , but that ’ s still a question on notice and I think we ’ ll wait and see what ATAGI and TGA come up with in terms of prevailing the data around the world and also locally .
Do you have a positive outlook on the progress of the vaccinations and post- COVID in Australia ? I think I do have a positive message , and that is that we really should celebrate what we ’ ve achieved as healthcare workers under very difficult circumstances . Not only have we vaccinated , we ’ ve also provided over the last two years an enormous amount of health literacy to a population that was really hungry for good information .
We ’ ve also had to bear some of the abuse as people who were politicising this and people who were I think basically existentially frightened by the impact of a global pandemic . We ’ ve provided psychological care , we ’ ve defended our profession , and we ’ ve performed amazingly . We really can take great pride in how we work together under difficult circumstances to deliver .
I know John Skerritt at the very start of this when we sat down and talked about how this was going to roll out , said ‘ this really was and is like a war effort ,’ in terms of the capacity and the amount of people we needed to vaccinate . And we really have stepped up . And I think that story should be told more widely . ■
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