Nellie is a free SMS service that can help with your general physical and mental health while you’re staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All you need to do is text the word covid to 0427 741 876. For three weeks, Nellie will check in with you each day and send supportive tips.

Who is Nellie?

Nellie is a free, automated SMS (text message) service run by the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, a government-funded organisation that works with local general practices and other primary health providers to improve the health of the community.

The messages in Nellie’s COVID-19 program were written by doctors, nurses, and allied health clinicians, using current government guidelines for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and how to look after yourself if you have an infection or are staying safe at home.

What is Nellie?

Nellie is an SMS service which sends you messages to help you with both your physical and mental health while you’re self-isolating (for people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19), or just staying at home to lower the risk of spread. If you report worsening/developing symptoms, Nellie will also recommend you seek medical care. The COVID-19 program is time-limited and will automatically end after three weeks.

For more information about Nellie

Click here

Influenza vaccination ('the flu vaccine')

The 'flu vaccine' is now available.

Elwood Family Clinic recommends that the flu vaccine be considered for everyone over the age of 5 months.

The vaccine significantly reduces the risk of getting flu.

About influenza

A flu illness is caused by one of several strains of the flu virus. Flu illness typically causes fever, sore throat, cough, lethargy, and aches and pains in muscles and joints. The duration of these symptoms is up to one week, and occasionally symptoms can be prolonged for up to two weeks. The symptoms can be severe and incapacitating, resulting in several days off work, school, or University.

The treatment for flu illness is to treat symptoms (eg paracetamol for aches and pains), to rest, and to take extra fluids (a total of at least 2.5-3 litres per day for adults). There is no evidence that any of the following are effective in the treatment of flu illness: antiviral medication, Vitamin C, echinacea, or zinc.

People who get flu illness can develop severe pneumonia. Pregnant women and people with diabetes are at increased risk of severe flu illness, and of flu illness complications (such as pneumonia).

A person who has flu illness can pass on the flu virus to another person by touch and by droplets (from sneezing and coughing).

To reduce the risk of transmitting flu infection, people who have flu should wash hands regularly, and should avoid coughing and sneezing in the direction of other people.

The flu vaccine

The vaccine is administered by injection into the muscle of the upper arm (or into the thigh muscle for infants).

The injection may cause a slight sting, but it's generally painless.

Most people who get the flu vaccine have no adverse effects. About 1 in 10 people will get some mild pain, tenderness, swelling and redness at the site of the injection - this can last for 1-2 days after the vaccination, and any pain can be relieved with paracetamol and with an icepack to the affected area (5-10 minutes every hour during the day, use a towel around the icepack).

About 1 in 20 people may feel unwell with mild fever and mild headache for 1-2 days after the vaccination - these symptoms can be relieved with paracetamol.

The flu vaccine cannot cause flu. The flu vaccine contains particles that resemble the four most common strains of flu virus. These particles are inactive - they cannot cause illness. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that are specific against the flu virus, so that the immune system is primed for attack by the virus when someone is exposed to the virus. The virus is swamped by the antibodies, and the virus is wiped out so that it does not establish an infection.

The flu vaccine does not provide protection against the 'common cold' or against 'coughs and sniffles'. The flu vaccine needs to be administered once every year. For children under the age of 9 who are receiving flu vaccination for the first time, a second dose is administered four weeks after the first dose. This does not apply in subsequent years.

The flu vaccine is provided free of charge under the National Immunisation Program for the following people:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • Children aged 6 months to 4 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months - 4 years, and aged 15 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • People with one or more of:
    • diabetes
    • severe persistent asthma
    • immune disorders
    • severe heart disease

At Elwood Family Clinic, for people who are not entitled to a free flu vaccine, the cost for the flu vaccine is $15.

Flu vaccine clinics

Elwood Family Clinic is holding 'flu vaccine clinics' during April, May, and June. One of the GPs will be running each Clinic. Appointments are booked at five minute intervals. These flu vaccine clinics are for flu vaccination only. The GP will check that you are fit to get the vaccine, explain the action of the vaccine, explain its potential adverse effects, and then administer the vaccine.

Everyone must wait in the waiting room for 20 minutes observation after getting the vaccine. This is to monitor for any very rare and serious adverse effects (such as anaphylaxis), which are straightforward to treat in the Clinic. Social distancing must be observed.

Because of limited time, no other health issues or problems can be addressed at a flu vaccine clinic. Please make a separate regular appointment for any other health issues or problems.

'Flu vaccine clinic' consultations are 'bulk-billed'. However, if you are not entitled to a free flu vaccine, you will be charged the medicare rebate for the consultation, and the cost of the vaccine. Flu vaccine can also be given during a regular consultation. There may be a fee for the consultation (which will include the cost for the time taken for the flu vaccination).


Patients who have consulted Dr Baird at Elwood Family Clinic can register with 'Ozdocsonline'. Patients who are registered with 'Ozdocsonline' can request repeat prescriptions, repeat referrals, reports on test results, and online consultations (called 'eConsults').

There is no fee for registering with 'Ozdocsonline'.

Elwood Family Clinic's 'Ozdocsonline' services are only available to patients who have:

  1. registered with Elwood Family Clinic, and
  2. consulted Dr Baird at Elwood Family Clinic at least once.

If you are a new patient who has not registered with Elwood Family Clinic, and you would like to register at Elwood Family Clinic, please go to the New patients page to get information and advice about registering as a new patient.

Registering with Ozdocsonline

  1. Go to Ozdocsonline - Elwood Family Clinic .
  2. Click 'Create an Account' on the right hand side of the webpage.
  3. Enter your details (minimum information required, first name, last name, date of birth, email address).
  4. An email will be sent to your email address from Ozdocsonline. This will show your username.
  5. Click on the link in the email to activate your account and to set your password.
  6. Click on the Patient Agreement.
  7. You are now an active, registered Ozdocsonline patient at Elwood Family Clinic.
  8. Patients who have consulted Dr Baird at Elwood Family Clinic can use Elwood Family Clinic's Ozdocsonline services.
  9. Your account needs to be verified by Dr Baird before you can use eConsults and Pathology result. Your account will be verified if your personal details in patient registration match your personal details in your clinical record.

You will receive a response to a request submitted via 'Ozdocsonline' within 72 hours. However, if Dr Baird is away, it may not be possible to respond within this period, in which case there will be a notice on the website with information about Dr Baird's absence, and with advice about alternative arrangements for managing your request.

Medicare does not provide rebates for the fees for these services.

Ozdocsonline is a secure web portal. Your personal health information is encrypted, and can only be accessed by you and by Dr Baird, by logging in to the website.

'eConsults' are useful for medical issues that do not require a face-to-face consultation or a physical examination. 'eConsults' are text-based, using secure email; they are not audio or video consultations; they are not real-time instant messaging. Patients describe a medical issue and ask questions for information and advice about the issue. Dr Baird's written reply will address the issue and the questions.

If there are several issues, if the issue is complex, or if the issue is not appropriate for management by 'eConsult', Dr Baird's reply will advise you to arrange an appointment for a consultation.

Medical issues that are appropriate for 'eConsults' include

  • travel advice,
  • vaccination advice,
  • information about health checks and screening,
  • lifestyle advice,
  • information about referrals to other healthcare providers,
  • advice about patient information resources,
  • chronic disease management issues (for example, home blood pressure measurements),
  • and review of an ongoing health issue that has been previously assessed and managed.


In using 'eConsults', patients declare that they understand these restrictions as described, and that they understand that there may be no response to the 'eConsult' for up to 72 hours from when the 'eConsult' request was submitted.

Problems that are NOT APPROPRIATE for 'eConsults' include one or more of:

  • chest pain,
  • breathlessness,
  • unconsciousness,
  • feeling faint,
  • drowsiness,
  • bleeding,
  • poisoning,
  • vomiting,
  • severe headache,
  • abnormalities of vision or speech,
  • weakness of limbs or facial muscles,
  • or a sick infant or sick child (one or more of: floppy (infant). limp (child), lethargic, drowsy, looking pale, blue colour of face, hands, or feet, vomiting, working hard with breathing, any rash, fever (over 38C))

If there are any of these problems, phone 000 immediately and ask for ambulance