A parliamentary inquiry into Long COVID and repeat COVID infections has recently handed down its final report.
The recommendations included:
- Establishing a better COVID and Long COVID data collection system
- Reviewing antiviral eligibility
- Providing more support and education for GPs to treat Long COVID
- Developing evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and treatment
- Funding state health departments to set up Long COVID clinics at public hospitals
- Setting up an expert panel to advise on the impact of poor indoor air quality and ventilation on the economy
- Changes to the vaccination communication strategy to emphasise how vaccines can reduce the risk of Long COVID
- Funding more research into myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
- A national summit into Australia’s response to COVID, including Long COVID
About 5 per cent of Australians who contract COVID-19 develop Long COVID, according to multiple studies cited in the report. It’s a syndrome with “up to 200 diverse and non-specific symptoms, making recognition and diagnosis challenging”, the report said.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has been tasked with developing a national plan to respond to Long COVID.
The committee also recommended the government use the definition of Long COVID as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and review it as more information became available. The WHO defines Long COVID as the continuation or development of new symptoms three months after the initial infection, and then lasting for at least two months.
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