Should you be vaccinated before, during or after pregnancy or prior to a gynaecological appointment or procedure?
Yes. As we have consistently stated, it is imperative that you are vaccinated to protect both your own health and that of others. Furthermore, as pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, it is extremely important to get vaccinated. Antibodies generated from vaccination will cross the placenta, providing your baby with some protection from the virus.
mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna) have now been given to tens of thousands of pregnant women and have been proven to be safe for both mother and baby with no increased risk of miscarriage or adverse effects on the mum or fetus. Conversely, contracting COVID-19 significantly increases your risk of serious disease if you are pregnant including miscarriage, preterm delivery, stillbirth, serious illness & death in the mother.
If you have not already been vaccinated, please go and get vaccinated ASAP.
Do you need to be fully vaccinated to have your baby or surgery at Burnside Hospital?
No. Burnside will continue to treat unvaccinated patients while it is legally possible to do so. SA Health does not presently mandate patients undergoing obstetric or medical care to be vaccinated. However, if hospitals start to fill with Covid patients, it is quite possible that such a directive could be made in the future. As such, we strongly encourage all patients to become vaccinated to ensure their access to treatment is not disrupted in 2022.
Do you have to provide evidence of being vaccinated against COVID-19?
Burnside Hospital requires all patients’ vaccination status to be disclosed, where able, prior to admission. While not mandated by law we also will be asking all patients vaccination status to help enable management of appointments.
Why are you being asked to provide proof of your vaccination?
Vaccination not only reduces your likelihood of contracting COVID-19 and becoming severely unwell, but it also significantly reduces the chance of you passing on the virus to other patients and our staff. Given that we has a duty of care to both our patients and staff, and the majority of our patients are considered vulnerable, there will be added precautions, testing and restriction on clinic visits for all unvaccinated patients undergoing care with us (please see below).
How will you provide proof of your vaccination status?
We have received advice from SA Health that this will be automated in the QR check-in process with an added ‘VaxCheck’ app linked through your myGOV account, if not we may require you to provide a copy of your vaccination certificate.
What steps have been put in place to minimise risk of COVID-19 transmission within Burnside Women’s Health?
We already have significant experience in minimising the risk of virus transmission from earlier outbreaks within the state. These same steps, plus additional enhanced protections will be taken and include:
- Temperature and symptom screening before entry to our clinic via the Burnside Hospital Front entrance.
- Regular cleaning of surfaces and “socially distant” seating in waiting rooms.
- Staff and patients wearing masks and socially distancing within the clinics. If you have a medical exemption from wearing a mask you can still access treatment, but we will need to manage your care as per the unvaccinated patient protocol, reflecting the increased risk of viral transmission to others without wearing a mask. Please note patients require a surgical mask and NOT a cloth mask, if you don’t have one it will be provided to you on arrival for your appointment.
- All staff are vaccinated including Booster doses where applicable.
- Where possible, we will try to minimise the number and/or duration of patient visits to our clinics. This may include an increased use of phone consultations for doctors and midwives.
ADDITIONAL STEPS FOR entry to our rooms for appointments AS DETERMINED BY BURNSIDE WAR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL:
- Vaccinated patients may enter the hospital but will undergo vetted screening at the front entrance.
- Unvaccinated patients will require a negative RAT test the morning of their appointment and will need to present that result on entry into the hospital. Please call our rooms for a request form.
If you do contract COVID-19, will it impact your care?
Unfortunately, yes. We will only be able to offer telehealth appointments and if you require hospital admission this will be guided by the SA Health Framework with Flinders Medical Centre to be the hospital where COVID 19 positive pregnant patients >16 weeks to be managed.
If you have a minor sniffle or other COVID-19 symptoms – what should you do?
As per SA Heath guidelines, you are required to self-isolate until you can attend a COVID-19 testing centre. Do not come to our clinic until you have received a negative test result and contact our staff by phone, so we are aware of your situation.
Can you bring your child/ren into your appointment?
All of us at Burnside Women’s Health love children and helping you expand your family. However, unfortunately we cannot have children attend our clinic. This is because children under 12 years are currently unable to be vaccinated and their presence at your appointment is not a critical part of your care. We know that this was not a popular decision when implemented in the past, but it is an absolute requirement. Please be aware that we will need to defer your appointment if you cannot find appropriate babysitting. The ONLY exemption will be newborn babies at the 6 week visit if you have NO OTHER OPTION.
What will happen if there is a case of COVID-19 at our clinic?
Unlike during the earlier elimination phase of COVID-19, SA Health have stated that in the event of an exposure, businesses will not be required to shut down for a few days and undergo a ‘deep clean’. As a worst-case scenario, we may need to close early for an overnight clean, but we should still be able to return to normal activity the following day.
Please note, when community transmission is reported in our State, we will continue to follow advice from SA Health and our clinical experts. Additional restrictions or changes may occur at a minimal notice out our discretion or as mandated.
Finally, at Burnside Women’s Health the health and safety of our patients, their families, our staff and their families remains our number one priority.
Dr Karen Chandler, Dr Carolyn Marlow, Dr Beth Russ, Dr Mandana Master and the staff at Burnside Women’s Health.