GPs now getting more doses of COVID-19 vaccine
The federal government has doubled and in some cases tripled the amount of coronavirus vaccine being sent to GPs each week, a decision praised by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
On Wednesday last week, effective immediately, practices in the 50 doses a week category began receiving 150 doses a week and practices getting 100 doses began receiving 200 doses a week. The increased doses will be available for all general practices that nominate to receive more.
RACGP president Dr Karen Price said the increase was a positive step forward.
“This is fantastic news because there are many general practices across Australia crying out for more COVID-19 vaccine doses,” she said.
“This increased dose allocation means that those practices with the capacity to do so can ramp up their rollout operations and get more jabs in arms with less delay.
“It recognises the important role of general practice in the vaccine rollout and the fact that general practice already acts as a ready-made mass vaccination program.
“Today’s announcement is not a perfect panacea and the RACGP will continue to advocate for general practices that have faced significant challenges during the vaccine rollout, as well as the patients they treat.
“We have a long way to go, and general practice will remain front and centre.
“There is still an enormous amount of work to do, including counselling for our vaccine-hesitant patients.”
Dr Price said the announcement came at a vital time.
“Now that everyone aged over 50 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, we hope to see more and more people come through our doors to get vaccinated,” she said.
“GPs across the country are ready and able to meet the demand but we need the right kind of support to do so. Part of the increase in availability of this vaccine stock is because of the states and territories rediverting their AstraZeneca allocations to general practice and enhanced local production.”
Dr Price said the announcement showed the RACGP’s advocacy was paying dividends and that governments were listening to general practice.
“We are doing a lot of the heavy lifting to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible so we need all the support we can get.,” she said.
“As president, I am proud to represent such dedicated clinicians who serve their communities and step up again and again to get the job done. Many general practices have had a challenging COVID-19 vaccine rollout experience so far and I want that to change. It is important that our highly trained health care clinicians in the community, who are trusted by their communities, are not sitting idle during a pandemic.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news and once again I urge all GPs, nurses, receptionists, and administrative staff across Australia to keep up the great work and not to be discouraged.
“Despite the vaccine rollout experiencing difficulties, general practice has delivered more than half of the nation’s COVID-19 vaccinations so far.
“That is in addition to delivering influenza vaccinations and routine childhood immunisations, which is simply superb preventive health care.”