Outreach program provides vital COVID-19 vaccinations for Cystic Fibrosis patients

An outreach program run by the Wayville vaccination clinic is providing vital COVID-19 vaccinations to Cystic Fibrosis patients at the RAH.

“It’s not about the individual anymore – it may be an individual choice, but it’s for the greater benefit of the collective,” says Jessica, 34, who is one of 174 South Australians living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). 

Jessica received her second lifesaving COVID-19 vaccination at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) as part of the CALHN Wayville vaccination clinic outreach program. 

The outpatient clinic in the respiratory unit at the RAH is providing a safe pathway for CF patients to access the COVID-19 vaccine with stringent safety and quality measures in place to ensure infection control.  

“It’s been a lot easier for me to have my vaccinations at the clinic because of the familiar team who understand the precautionary safety requirements, which reduce risk of cross-infection,” says Jessica. 

RAH Respiratory Physician and Senior Consultant, Cystic Fibrosis, Dr Morton, says there has been vaccinating around 20 CF consumers a week with hopes to have all CF patients in South Australia vaccinated in three months.  

“Around 60 consumers have already received at least one dose of the vaccine through the weekly clinic, which will continue until all 150 consumers have had the opportunity to be vaccinated,” says Dr Morton. 

Jessica getting her COVID-18 vaccination

Jessica getting her COVID-18 vaccination

Of the 174 people living with CF in South Australia, 150 live in the metro area, 47 are fully vaccinated and there has been no reported adverse side effects from the jab.  

CF is a rare genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs, and people living with CF are immune compromised, leaving them with a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases, like COVID-19. 

Jessica was diagnosed with CF at six weeks old and has needed annual hospital admission for IV antibiotics ever since. Although she’s led a relatively healthy life, Jessica lives with anxiety of COVID-19 exposure, knowing she is at high-risk of complications should she catch the disease.

The vaccination outreach program ensures this vulnerable group of South Australians have access to the COVID-19 vaccine while also protecting the community, because people with CF may have multi-resistant organisms that can spread to other people. 

“Having access to the service reduces my anxiety about being exposed to risks of cross-infection, which CF patients can face at regular vaccination clinics.” 

“Now that I’m safely vaccinated, I am more prepared for any more outbreaks we may have. 

“As someone with a very high risk to COVID-19, I urge all South Australians to get their COVID-19 vaccination to keep everyone in our community safe, especially the immune-compromised, disabled and other special needs groups,” says Jessica.  

CALHN’s Wayville clinic provides pathways for several vulnerable groups to be vaccinated when attending a mass vaccination clinic is not a viable option.   

If you need help, check your eligibility here.