Chris Thomas, CEO of Transplant Australia, said there had been some “dental problems” reported by transplant recipients trying to book their third vaccine dose.
“We hear people who book through their doctor do not experience any delays, but we also hear some anecdotal reports that when people turn to the state system or other providers, the information has not yet been obtained,” he said, referring to rollout across the country.
NSW Health confirmed that it was administering third doses to humans at its vaccination clinics with appropriate documentation.
Thomas said part of the problem may be confusion about access and eligibility. His organization is holding a webinar briefing on the third doses in the coming weeks.
“As we slowly get out of the lockdown, we don’t want to leave anyone behind,” he said.
A spokesman for a federal health ministry said there were several ways in which immunocompromised patients could demonstrate that they were eligible for a third dose, including a referral letter from a GP, a referral letter from a specialist, MyHealth Record, a treatment plan of chronic illness, a hospital discharge form or a script for medication.
“People who do not have this level of evidence, or may not wish to disclose details of their medical condition, can complete a qualification declaration form (equivalent to a statutory declaration form) to declare their eligibility,” they added.
Asked how many people had done this successfully, the spokesman said the national COVID-19 Taskforce “does not yet make available the number of booster doses administered to ensure privacy”.
“[Lieutenant General John] Frewen is committed to being transparent and ensuring that all information released provides an accurate picture of Australia’s spread of vaccines and working with states and territories on ways to release more detailed data sets, ”they said.
Ben Riganti, 37, received his third dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday after being contacted by his doctor.
The Newcastle kidney transplant recipient, who has cerebral palsy, said he was vaccinated so he could “go out into the community and have fun watching [his] friends and family “.
Riganti’s sister and caregiver Lyn Walker said she trusted her doctors’ recommendations and was grateful that his doctor reached out when she heard stories of confusion from other transplant recipients.
“His doctors and his nephrologists have already saved his life. When I weighed it, I thought – what would happen if he got COVID and he lost his kidney? ”
The pair will continue to be cautious out in Newcastle, where cases have been high in recent weeks.
“Ben absolutely loves the clubs, so we’ve chosen a club in our area and he goes in with his mask on and we sit away from people,” Walker explained.
“We were careful even before the pandemic and used hand alcohol and stuff. But I do not want to wrap him in cotton wool – he must live his life. ”
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