With the public starting to get vaccinated, we are receiving several enquiries regarding precautionary measures with individuals who have been vaccinated. We put the following questions to the government for further clarity.

  1. How much time should a practitioner wait before they can perform a skin treatment or a skin penetration procedure with a client that has just been vaccinated?
  2. What about viral shedding, what is the Minister’s position about this risk, and how should a personal services business address this?
  3. If a staff member has had the vaccine, are they required to not go to work for a period and how long should that be?  Are they required to take any additional precautions?
  4. Businesses have been told that if a claim is lodged by an individual who has reacted to treatment but has had the vaccine recently, their claim will be null and void.

For these instances businesses are asking if they need to get their client to sign a waiver prior to any treatment.

Today, I received a letter of response from the Minister’s office.  I will not include the complete letter as some of the information is generic, however in essence this is the Minister’s response we received:

“I can advise that the Government has no current policy/guidelines in regard to waiting times after being vaccinated to receive any specific treatment or cosmetic procedure and this is not a recommendation that would be made by Queensland Health in relation to this vaccine.

Given the rapidly evolving information and data available about the vaccines, their safety and precautions for use or otherwise, we are following the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recommendations in relation to the vaccines and is being informed by other established national expert groups such as National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), The Thrombosis and Haemostasis society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ) amongst others.

 NCIRS does have an FAQ on their webpage in relation to the Vaccine. 

Please visit: https://www.ncirs.org.au/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines-frequently-asked-questions

We encourage your group to contact ATAGI or NCIRS to provide expert commentary in relation to your specific questions”.

Where to from here?

As you can see from the above the search for any specific clarity from the Government did not result to any definitive answers.  We therefore must navigate carefully around these issues. In terms of APAN here is what we recommend:

Consultation process: It is important that you review and update your consultation process and ask your clients if they have had the vaccine. Review any health considerations and their overall health status as well as any potential reactions they may or may not be experiencing.  From this information you need to make a careful decision if you will go ahead with your service or treatment and what precautionary measure you will be taking during their treatment.

If the treatment will be invasive, such as skin needling, or cosmetic tattooing, it is important to carefully consider any potential immune response that your procedure may activate and take appropriate measures. 

The medical recommendation for injectable services is to wait 6-8 weeks post-vaccine, and this is a highly recommended timeframe, depending on the procedure you will be performing.  If you are unsure, it would be advisable to also discuss this with their physician for their consideration. Whatever decision you take please make sure that you are in mutual agreement with your client on the precautionary measures.

Below we have included some key Government recommendations that may be useful in gaining a better understanding of what to expect at this time with the increase in consumers being vaccinated. Bear in mind that we can expect changes to recommendations from the Government as new information comes to hand.

At this stage, all authorities that we have approached were able only to give us a few guidelines.  Here are a few facts that we were given:

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION IN AUSTRALIA HAS BEEN VACCINATED?

As of 7 June 2021, 5.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in Australia. That constitutes approximately 18% of the population. There is still a high percentage of the population not rushing to get vaccinated but are waiting for further safety assurance by the authorities. 

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?
As many of our members are insured with The Sparrow Group we approached them about their position, which was somewhat encouraging.  This is what they told us:  

“We can confirm that if there is a reaction/claim arising from treatment, then there would be cover.   Liability would be where that would be considered, and whether some other underlying issue caused the reaction.

 Following any vaccination, as a rule there is some sort of inflammatory/immune response.  So, if the insured (business) has an issue with that, they can include a question in their questionnaire, however we are not sure how that would apply to the COVID-19 vaccines specifically and not all vaccines. 

 The current vaccines being rolled out are not trial vaccines, they have been approved by the TGA so all who are insured should follow the advice of the Medical Authorities.”

What this position is suggesting is that any skin reactions as a result of treatments would still be covered, but with considerations of potential underlying issues.  This is the Sparrow Group underwriter’s policy, not necessarily other insurers, so it is important that you check with your current insurer if it’s another company as their policy may differ.

IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATORY? The Australian Government has stated that at this stage COVID-19 vaccination “is NOT mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate”.

It is possible that in future, vaccination against COVID-19 may become a requirement for travel to certain destinations or for people working in certain high-risk workplaces. If this becomes the case, it is anticipated there will be exemptions in place for people who are unable to be vaccinated.

CAN I HAVE A COVID-19 VACCINE IF I HAVE ALLERGIES? The official advice for this is that most all people with allergies can have a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people with food allergies, asthma, or hay fever. People who have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a particular COVID-19 vaccine, or to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine, should not have another dose of that vaccine. They may be able to have an alternative brand of COVID-19 vaccine. For some people, precautions may be needed before vaccination, such as consulting an allergy specialist, being vaccinated in a facility which has medical staff and being observed for at least 30 minutes after vaccination.

This applies to people in the following groups:

  • people who have had a suspected allergic reaction after a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine 
  • people who have had an allergic reaction (but not anaphylaxis) to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • people who have had anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to medications (including injectable or oral medications) where there may be common ingredients with a COVID-19 vaccine (such as polyethylene glycol, an ingredient in Comirnaty, or polysorbate 80, an ingredient in COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca) 
  • people who have a mast cell activation disorder.

WHAT ARE THE LIKELY SIDE EFFECTS FROM COVID-19 VACCINES? Vaccines can cause side effects. Usually these are mild and temporary. Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have reported side effects such as pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches starting on the day or day after vaccination and go away without treatment.  

The most common side effects for both vaccines include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects are temporary and go away without treatment in 1–2 days. Sometimes these flu-like side effects can mean people don’t carry out their usual activities for a day or so. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SIDE EFFECTS AFTER A COVID-19 VACCINE? You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with side effects like pain, headaches or fever. These short-term side effects are expected and reflect a developing immune response to vaccination. If you have significant side effects (such as fever, tiredness or muscle aches) which are preventing you from carrying out your usual activities, you may need to take extra rest until you feel better. If side effects are severe or persistent you should:

  • Seek urgent medical assistance (e.g. by calling 000) if you think you are having a severe allergic reaction, such as if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, hives, lip swelling or feeling faint.
  • You should seek advice from your usual healthcare provider (e.g. GP) if you have any side effects that you are concerned about, or if your side effects have not gone away after a few days. 
  • Be aware of the rare possibility of serious symptoms after AstraZeneca vaccine caused by TTS. These symptoms may include new onset severe headache or abdominal pain starting in the 4-28 days after vaccination.
  • You can also report side effects after vaccination to your state and territory health authority, or directly to the TGA.  Your healthcare provider can also make a report for you if you wish.