Rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has begun in Australia, raising questions for people receiving immunosuppressive or biologic treatment. Some information for people on immunosuppressive or biological treatment has been developed:
- Skin Health Institute factsheet: COVID-19 vaccine information for people on an immunosuppressive or biological treatment (March 2021)
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI): COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for people with immunocompromise (June 2021)
In Australia, available COVID-19 vaccines have passed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) assessment and approval processes that assess vaccine safety, quality and effectiveness.
For the latest information and to check you or your child’s eligibility, visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination website including its Eligibility checker tool, or your relevant State/Territory website.
Talk to your doctor or immunisation provider to help inform your decision.
Useful COVID-19 resources
- Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker
- National Coronavirus Helpline – call 1800 020 080 for information about COVID-19 and if you need assistance.
- News and information about COVID-19 from from the Department of Health and in 63 other languages.
- Patient support groups in Australia provide practical and emotional support to help people, their families and carers cope with chronic skin conditions.
State / Territory Government Links
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for people with skin conditions and receiving dermatology care
Early diagnosis and treatment is critical and it is extremely important that we do not let COVID-19 provide an opportunity for melanoma to take yet more lives.
If you have a concerning spot or lesion on your skin, make an appointment with your GP who may refer you to a dermatologist.
If you have a regular follow up appointment booked with your dermatologist, please contact their practice or clinic to see if this can be carried out using a telephone or video consultation, or if you need to see your dermatologist for a face-to-face consultation.
Prolonged use of masks and goggles can cause adverse skin reactions such as acne, contact dermatitis and pressure effects as well as exacerbating any underlying skin conditions.
The College, in partnership with other organisations have developed some tips to help you avoid skin problems.
- Keep your face healthy during COVID-19: Tips to avoid skin problems and allow you to keep wearing a mask (Factsheet)
- Keep your face healthy while wearing a mask (Summarised poster version)
People who are on immunosuppressants or biologics may be at higher risk of developing COVID-19 and may feel concerned about COVID-19. The College has developed information to help you:
It is important that you continue to take your usual medicines to stay as healthy as possible during COVID-19.
NPS MedicineWise has developed some information for you about medicines and COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation, and like everyone, dermatologists are having to adapt their models of care rapidly in an effort to minimise the risks of infection to their patients and staff.
To minimise community spread, dermatologists in some locations have been advised to postpone any non-urgent consultations to minimise the number of people coming through their consulting and waiting rooms.
Some dermatologists may have chosen to close their clinic, particularly those identified at high risk of a serious infection should they contract COVID-19 or in quarantine themselves.
Where feasible and clinically appropriate, your dermatologist may offer to conduct consultations by video or phone. In some cases, it may not be possible to offer this service.
As part of the health system response to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be offered a consultation with your dermatologist or clinical nurse by phone or video – known as telehealth – instead of face to face.
For more information on what to expect see:
- Your dermatology telehealth appointment: A five step guide
- Dermatology and telehealth – information for patients
- University of Queensland’s, Quick guides for telehealth to help you decide if telehealth is right for you and how to prepare for a video consultation.
- Department of Health factsheet – Helping you get your medicine if you are confined to home
Telehealth may not be appropriate for the management of all dermatological conditions and a face-to-face consultation may still be needed. Your dermatologist will discuss this with you and whether a face-to-face consultation needs to take place or can be postponed to a later date.