People Living With HIV in Australia can now book an appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from March 22, 2021.

Online bookings are now open for Phase 1B of the national Coronavirus vaccine rollout. Phase 1B includes all Australians aged 70 and above, healthcare workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged over 55 and adults with a specified medical condition. HIV is listed in this phase as an underlying health condition.

From Monday, March 22, around 1000 GP clinics will reportedly start vaccinations with the numbers increasing to 4000 GP clinics by April. Over 6 million people are expected to be vaccinated in Phase 1B, with the government aiming to vaccinate all Australians by the end of October 2021. 

Community organisations are encouraging people living with HIV to get vaccinated against Coronavirus. 

“As Phase 1B gets underway, we’re encouraging people living with HIV to continue to look after their health and wellbeing by getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth told Star Observer. 

“That being said, we can see this process will take time and we encourage everyone to be patient as there are a limited number of GPs offering the vaccine. In the meantime, make sure you contact your doctor in advance to ensure you have a referral from them or a Phase 1B declaration form completed,” Ruth said, while encouraging everyone to stay informed about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe For PLHIV?

According to Positive Living NSW, all vaccines offer the same benefits for PLHIV as they do for the general community. 

“The COVID-19 vaccines under development or approved by regulators are safe for most healthy adults, including people living with HIV. Before vaccines are approved for use in Australia, they go through a rigorous process of review to ensure they are safe. This review is done by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. People living with HIV are at no greater risk from COVID-19 than anyone else.  There is no reason why people living with HIV should not take the vaccine when offered it.”

Get Vaccinated, says Dr Fauci

One of the world’s leading infectious disease experts, Dr Anthony Fauci endorsed COVID-19 vaccination for people with HIV or other immunosuppressive conditions.

Dr Fauci’s remarks were made during the International AIDS Society’s (IAS) Covid-19 Conference. “You know there are people who ask me if I have an immunosuppressive disease, should I wind up getting vaccinated? Even if you did have a suppressed immune system, you should get vaccinated,” said Dr Fauci. 

PLHIV were included in most trials of the COVID-19 vaccines, though in very small numbers. “Taking antiretroviral HIV medication is not a reason to delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and there is no current evidence to suggest that the vaccine will be any less safe for people living with HIV,” said Positive Living NSW. 

Book Yourself For A Covid-19 Vaccine

To book an online vaccination appointment visit Healthdirect Vaccine Eligibility Checker. The question that is relevant to PLHIV is Question 8 that asks “Do you have an underlying medical condition?” For those living with HIV, the answer is ‘Yes’.

Once Healthdirect confirms that you are eligible for vaccination, make a booking. Enter your postcode to find a clinic of your choice. 

For more information about COVID Vaccination, call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline. Also Check the Thorne Harbour Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Positive Living NSW pages

 

 

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